Whether you believe pre-season friendlies are about getting players back up to match fitness, money making corporate cash grabs, or simply a chance for fans in far flung places to see their favourite clubs, it's generally agreed that the bare minimum requirement is that players don't get injured. Anything else above and beyond that is just gravy on the pre-season meatloaf.
It was always going to be a tall order for Liverpool to get through the pre-season unscathed and injury free. Last summer saw both Adam Lallana and Daniel Agger pick up injuries (or "injuries") while on tour, and while the club has largely been fortunate so far, wee Joe Allen was the first to succumb to the pre-season injury curse on Sunday against Swindon Town.
"It looks like he maybe just tweaked his hamstring," Brendan Rodgers said of his diminutive midfielder after the match. "We will see what the scan brings back on that. He has felt it tighten."
There's no good time to get an injury, but right before the season begins is amongst the worst possible times for a player to disappear off his manager's radar. Rodgers has at times been known to take an "out of sight, out of mind" approach to injured players, and in a crowded midfield that many think has no room for the Welshman, it's an unfortunate spot to be in.
Clawing one's way back into Rodgers' starting eleven after returning from injury is no easy task. Allen will be hoping that the tweak in his thigh is a minor one not likely to cause him to miss more than one match, as the alternative is a rather grim reality for a player who has already spent far too much time on the physio table in his time at Liverpool.
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