JOE ALLEN will miss the rest of the season after the decision was taken for the Liverpool FC midfielder to undergo surgery to cure his troublesome shoulder complaint.
Allen will have an operation later this week to address the problem, which has hampered him for much of his debut Anfield campaign.
The Wales international had been hopeful of playing on until at least early April in the knowledge he would need at least three months to recover ahead of Liverpool’s pre-season programme for the next campaign.
But the decision has now been taken to bring forward surgery with Allen having been substituted at half-time of Saturday’s 3-1 Premier League defeat at Southampton after further aggravating the injury.
The 23-year-old subsequently withdrew from the Wales squad for their forthcoming World Cup qualifying double header against Scotland and Croatia.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers revealed earlier this month that Allen had been playing in pain since October, but the club had decided to keep the problem under wraps so not to alert opponents to a clear weakness.
While at Swansea City, Allen underwent minor surgery on his shoulder in May 2010 that kept him out for a month.
But a further three years of wear and tear have seen the ball and socket of his shoulder come apart, requiring extensive surgery.
Allen is keen to enjoy a full pre-season programme with Liverpool having not joined following his £15million move from Swansea until after his Olympic commitments with Team GB.
Meanwhile, Stewart Downing admits his team-mates have little hope of persuading Jamie Carragher to reverse his decision to retire at the end of this campaign.
Since announcing last month he will hang up his boots in May, Carragher has emerged as a key player in Liverpool’s Premier League revival.
Indeed, the centre-back’s absence through injury was notable during the weekend defeat on the South Coast.
But Downing admitted: “No matter how much we pester him, Carra is one of those people that if he says something, he’ll stick by it.”
Speaking during a Twitter question and answer session arranged by the official Liverpool club account, Downing also courted controversy by stating Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez were not the best players he had appeared alongside.
Instead, the winger revealed: “I’d probably say Mark Viduka (was the best). Just his presence, his goals and all-round ability.”