Joe Allen didn't miss a minute of Liverpool's Premier League campaign until the 1st of December, with the £15 million signing being seen as the key to introducing Brendan Rodgers' passing style to Anfield. However since then, Allen has only completed 90 minutes on one occasion, the 3-1 home loss to Aston Villa, and his appearances for the side have become increasingly limited.
Clearly there are several factors at play here, but it has been telling that Liverpool have improved significantly when Allen has been out of the side, with Lucas and Jordan Henderson impressing behind Steven Gerrard in the centre of the park.
Obviously the blame for Liverpool's poor first half of the season cannot be laid at Allen's feet, as the whole side was struggling to adapt to a new system and was heavily reliant on Luis Suarez as their only consistent goal threat. Now Liverpool have added Sturridge to the ranks, and have Steven Gerrard in red hot form as well, their results were always going to improve regardless of Allen being on the bench or on the pitch. However the side's record with and without Allen in the side doesn't make for happy reading for the midfielder.
With Allen starting Liverpool have won six of 19 matches, a win ratio of 31.5%, and lost the same amount. Without Allen Liverpool have won three of six games, and lost only once. Also the two draws without Allen have been away at Arsenal and Manchester City, when Liverpool turned in excellent performances that only sloppy defending stopped leading to three points.
It's far too early to say whether Allen will be a success at Liverpool, but he has not enjoyed a particularly impressive start, and there is a case for saying part of Liverpool's recent improvement has been down to him being displaced from the formation. Brendan Rodgers is one manager who will certainly give the midfielder, who is still only 22, time to find his feet at the club, but it might be tricky for Allen to regain a regular starting place in the last few months of this season.