Joe Allen hopes Liverpool fans will see the best of him next season after undergoing surgery on his troublesome shoulder. The 23-year-old Wales midfielder will miss the rest of this campaign having gone under the knife to correct the long-standing issue with his left shoulder, which had left him in discomfort while playing. Allen’s form tailed off as the season went on, but he hopes with a full pre-season behind him he can win the approval of the Reds’ faithful. He told the club website: “The fans have definitely not seen the best of me yet. It’s no secret that recent months haven’t gone great for me. I am confident and faithful that next season I can perform a lot better. Unfortunately this season’s a write-off in regards to the injury but the plan is, and I’ve got a bit of time, to make sure it’s right over the summer break in time for pre-season.” Press Association He added: “It’s difficult to say [whether the injury affected my game] – I don’t want to use it as an excuse, that’s for sure. But I’d like to see how it is once it’s fixed and I’d like to think it’s going to help me massively. I’m excited and looking forward to being 100 per cent fit. These things can often play on your mind. Hopefully this will bring out the best in me.” Rodgers, meanwhile, will not make a decision on Andy Carroll’s Liverpool future until the end of the season. The striker, signed by Kenny Dalglish for £35 million in January 2011, has spent the season on loan at West Ham after Rodgers deemed him not to be part of his plans for the current campaign. Reports in the national media suggest Carroll will be sold by the Reds this summer, with Liverpool prepared to cut their losses if any club is willing to meet a £17million valuation. When asked about Carroll’s future, Rodgers told Fox Sports: “It’s nothing to discuss now. It’s something we’ll speak about at the end of the season. “We’ve monitored it (his form) very closely. We’ve had representatives from Liverpool at most of the games. “It’s obviously been a difficult season for Andy because his initial idea was he wanted to go out and play every week, but unfortunately for him he’s picked up some injuries since he’s been away. But he scored two very good goals at the weekend and he’ll be looking to finish the season on a high and achieve the objectives he wanted to before he went out.”
The No. 3 USC women’s volleyball team overcame a mini-slump Sunday, dispatching of the Washington State Cougars 3-0 for its 14th win and 10th sweep of the season.Ahead of the curve · Freshman outside hitter Samantha Bricio led USC in its three-set sweep of Washington State with 15 kills at a blistering .367 clip. The 17-year-old continues to pace the Women of Troy’s potent attack. – Corey Marquetti | Daily TrojanThe Women of Troy, who entered the game having been swept back-to-back by Oregon and Washington, put together a strong attack against the Cougars, overcoming a tough first set to win 26-24, 25-18, 25-20 and record their sixth consecutive win against Washington State.“I think we were prepared Friday, we just didn’t get it done,” sophomore setter Hayley Crone said. “I think we got our confidence back today and worked our way through the game.”Freshman outside hitter Samantha Bricio paced the team once again, turning in another strong performance with a team-high 15 kills.Bricio added seven digs and two key blocks, including one that sealed the first set, while attacking at a steady .367 clip. Senior opposite Katie Fuller notched 10 kills to support Bricio, while the Women of Troy also received solid performances from junior outside hitter Sara Shaw (eight kills and 11 digs) and junior middle blocker Alexis Olgard (six blocks and six kills). Crone notched 36 assists to stabilize the team’s attack.The first set was tightly contested, as the teams traded points back and forth before the Women of Troy staked themselves to a 14-9 lead.After the Cougars fought back to push a 19-all tie, the Women of Troy again took the lead at 22-20, but WSU recorded a flurry of kills to hold set point at 24-23.Bricio came up big, however, blocking a Cougar attack for her seventh kill of the set to tie the match at 24 apiece. Bricio then followed a WSU error with a solo block to claim the first set for the Women of Troy, who uncharacteristically struggled to a .143 hitting percentage in the set.“That was a wild first game, no doubt about it,” USC coach Mick Haley said. “But we had fun, and we took care of what we needed to take care of offensively and defensively.”The second set was more relaxing for the visitors, who once again overcame an early struggle to take the set 25-18.Sophomore setter Emily Young’s kill ignited a 5-0 run for the Women of Troy, who went up 14-8 before shortly extending their lead to 19-10 as Crone set up senior middle blocker Natasa Siljkovic for a kill to put the game out of reach. The Women of Troy saw a marked improvement offensively in the second set, hitting .367 while holding the Cougars to .125 and 11 kills.After a Bricio kill put the Women of Troy up 6-3 in the final set, the team never looked back, holding the lead the entire way through to claim the sweep.WSU then brought the deficit down to 8-7, Fuller turned back a block for the kill to go up 14-9.The team eventually widened its gap to 20-11. After a Shaw kill put the Women of Troy up 23-18, Bricio earned set point before Olgard finished off a Crone pass to seal the victory.While the hitting once again struggled, the third set was the team’s best defensive performance of the game, as the Women of Troy held the Cougars to a paltry .025 attack percentage.Looking forward, Haley is pleased with his team’s performance amid an unusual stretch of adversity.“I think, offensively, we’re fine,” Haley said. “Our setter [Crone] is constantly learning new things and is getting better. It’s a lot of responsibility and she has to learn to relax more while she’s playing, but she was better and better today. She’s taken a lot of responsibility for the last two losses and unfairly I think, because the responsibility has to be shared by the entire team.”Crone is confident in the team’s prospects entering next weekend’s matchups at the Galen Center.“We haven’t played Arizona and Arizona State yet, so we don’t exactly know what to expect,” Crone admitted. “But we just need to remain consistent and, if we stick to our game plan, we’ll be fine.”The team will return home this week to face Arizona Friday at 7 p.m. before a Sunday matchup against Arizona State at 4 p.m.