Joe Allen has revealed he feels ready to start and he could be included in the match day squad Brendan Rodgers selects to travel to Newcastle United for this Saturday’s early kick-off.
Allen recently revealed he was making good progress from a hamstring problem, looking to kick start his season for the Reds over the next couple of weeks.
That initial optimism was mixed in with doubts over his physical state of match fitness but he’s put any worries to one side and has suggested he’d be ready to go from the first whistle on Saturday if needed.
“The plan is to get back into training, get a good few days leading up to the Newcastle game and hopefully I'll be available for selection from there on. It has been a bit of a frustrating time - it always is when you're injured - but I'm finally getting there,” Allen told the Post.
Although he’d never admit it, Allen’s match fitness and sharpness will prevent him from starting this weekend.
Liverpool are in a great position joint top of the Premier League with Arsenal and Rodgers has found a system and a set of players for that system, which is proving successful.
It’s more likely that Allen will start on the bench, maybe coming on late in the game for any of Jordan Henderson, Lucas or Steven Gerrard as the boss looks to keep the side fresh.
He’ll be straining at the leash all week because he’s been frustrated by injury and that’s something that Liverpool can use to their advantage.
If they are chasing the game this Saturday, Allen can go on as an extra player to sit in the middle of the pitch, pull the strings and releasing Gerrard to go forward into a more advanced position.
If they are protecting any lead, he can slot in next to Lucas in front of the back four, creating an extra barrier for the Newcastle midfield and attack to break through if they want to get back into the game.
Allen has appeared in just three matches this season across all competitions. Liverpool fans are yet to see his best form but his return is an undoubted positive because of his quality as a player and the knock on benefits he creates for others.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald