Football - Rodgers looking for more from Allen

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

PA Sport Report

The Wales international was the Reds' best player in the first half of Steven Gerrard's 2-0 testimonial win at Anfield against Olympiacos 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."

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