- Premier League
Allen determined to turn form around
Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen is eager to endear himself to the Reds faithful and prove himself to manager Brendan Rodgers after a shaky start to the year at Anfield.
Allen, 22, made a strong impression at Liverpool after joining from Swansea last summer, but a barren run of form lately has raised doubts over his role in the side.
With Philipe Coutinho having joined in the January transfer window, Allen is determined to secure his place in the midfield and was quick to refute suggestions that his £14 million price tag has hampered him.
"Everyone knows my form hasn't been great," Allen said. "It's been disappointing not to have been involved in every game. But it's up to me now to work hard and get myself back in the team and improve my level of performance. I'd never put it down to that [the high transfer fee]. Whether that has affected me or not, I don't really know."
Allen has received criticism from a number of former professionals and football commentators, with Alan Shearer suggesting the Welsh international is guilty of not taking enough risks in attack.
"They're top pundits. When Alan Shearer speaks, people listen," Allen said. "I want to improve all aspects of my game.
"I'm a perfectionist and maybe that's my problem - sometimes I get frustrated and disappointed when things aren't perfect. In terms of what Alan said, I can learn from it. But it's difficult because at the time I thought I was playing well."
The former Swans midfielder will return to his old stomping ground when Wales host Austria in a friendly on Wednesday and Allen believes his club and country find themselves in eerily similar predicaments at the moment.
"It's almost the story of the season. We've deserved more than we've got and Sunday's game at Manchester City was probably a prime example of that," Allen said. "It's similar here [in Wales]. Both are positive and looking to the future and the biggest thing is everyone has that faith and belief that things will turn around for the better.
"I'd like to think the New Year is a fresh start for Wales. The results over the last few games haven't been as good as we'd hoped for. We're looking to improve. Consistency is key.
"In international football you don't get the chance to work with each other that often so it's important that, when you get together, you can get your ideas and philosophy across."