Brendan Rodgers hoping for more from Joe Allan

 

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is hopeful a rejuvenated Joe Allen can help his side challenge for the top four this season.

The Wales international was the Reds' best player in the first half of Steven Gerrard's 2-0 testimonial win at Anfield against Olympiacos yesterday and could have had a hat-trick in the first half.

In the end he had to settle for one, sliding home Iago Aspas' low cross from five yards, but he displayed some of the desire to get into attacking areas which persuaded Rodgers to spend £15million in order to get former club Swansea to release him last summer.

Twelve months ago he began well, albeit playing in a deeper role, but his performances tailed off as a shoulder problem became more troublesome and eventually forced him to end the campaign prematurely in order to have surgery.

"The first three month of last season Joe was our best player by a mile but he had a problem with his shoulder which curtailed his season," said the Reds boss.

"It meant he could not have that aggressive streak which is part of his game.

"Joe has been terrific over the course of pre-season and he did very well.

"It is important we have a real strong competitive group as we are trying to build the depth of the group so that I can change the team in games and when we go to play against certain teams I can change the team about."

Substitute Jordan Henderson scored Liverpool's other goal just seconds after coming off the bench as Gerrard saw two of his fellow midfielders take up the goalscoring responsibility.

The Reds captain, celebrating 15 years in the first team, has had to shoulder the responsibility for driving the team forward for years but he is looking forward to being able to share the load in the latter years of his career.

"We've got some wonderful youngsters coming through and I think everyone is keeping their fingers crossed that we can keep important players at the club," said the 33-year-old, in reference to unsettled striker Luis Suarez who has been the subject of two failed bids from Arsenal.

"If we do I can assure everyone that we will compete. There might be one or two new faces to add to that as well (a bid has been made to Atletico Madrid for striker Diego Costa) - we'll have to wait and see.

"I'm really pleased with the boys so far - we haven't conceded a goal (in five pre-season friendlies) and we're creating bundles of chances. With the right people in the forward areas, we'll get lots of goals."

Gerrard signed a new contract last month which keeps him at the club for a further two years and Rodgers has not ruled out the midfielder extending that further.

"For me he still has a number of years left yet," he said.

"You gauge players on their hunger, no matter how old or young they are, and Steven is 33 but from the first day I walked in here he struck me with his determination and hunger to succeed.

"He is very much hungry for the club to do well. The quality of his movement, his passes and leadership - he knows there is added responsibility with a number of players moving on (Jamie Carragher has retired and Jose Reina loaned to Napoli) - and he is a real talisman and gentleman."

Rodgers also thought the friendly against Olympiacos proved doubly useful.

"It was a great day. This was a day which was really about him but he wanted it to be about everyone bar him," he said.

"He has made many friends throughout his career but he wanted this to be a game in preparation for our season.

"It was a great send off for him to have won the game and it was great for the supporters to pay homage to an iconic player for this club and who will continue to be so."

PA

Sport
footballLIVE City face Stoke, while Warnock returns to Palace dugout
Arts and Entertainment
books
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
News
i100
News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone