Press Association Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel believes his late goal against Arsenal could prove to be more significant than the single point it earned his side. The Slovakia international chose the perfect opportunity to score his first of the season in the seventh of nine minutes of time added – largely for a head injury suffered by Skrtel when Olivier Giroud accidentally stood on him. Skrtel posted a graphic picture on Instagram on Monday showing seven metal staples which were inserted into the cut. While his goal at least ensured Liverpool gained a 2-2 draw from a dominant performance, had it not gone in manager Brendan Rodgers would have found himself answering more questions about why his side could not convert a possession percentage of 64 per cent into something more tangible. Back-to-back league defeats would have dealt a damaging blow but at least Liverpool can look forward to the festive period with some optimism. “Obviously it is disappointing because we wanted to get the three points but to go behind and then score a late equaliser is good and I think we showed that spirit, fight, desire,” Skrtel said. “It was a great goal and a big one for us. To get a point was reward for fighting to the end and I am glad for myself because I’ve had a few chances this season but couldn’t score, and now I’ve finally scored. “The goal and the performance can help turn things around because there has been a lot of criticism of us and I hope it will change and be better in the second half of the season. “The last three games against United, Bournemouth and Arsenal we have shown great performances and we need to keep going this way, and it will be good for us and results will be better.”
Facebook Twitter Google+ When Diamond Henderson found herself mired in a 5-for-32 shooting slump that spanned three games in the middle of December, she decided she needed to make conscious changes. After practices, she’d stay late and not leave until she made 100 3s. During games, she’d look to attack and get to the free-throw line as opposed to living around the perimeter.For much of the early season, she showed only inconsistent flashes of being the prized transfer guard that chose to spend her final year of eligibility at Syracuse. “For the first time in a long time I would have a crew with me and not out there doing a lot of work by myself,” Henderson said, “so I just knew that scoring is what I’d do best, so I just had to come out and do what I do best.”After a rocky start to the season, Henderson’s much-hyped scoring ability came to fruition in Syracuse’s 74-72 loss to Baylor on Dec. 19. The senior erupted for 27 points and helped keep the Orange afloat in a game that it trailed in early on. Since then, she’s scored 16, 14 and 15 points, respectively, in each of SU’s last three games, her longest double-digit scoring stretch of the season. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIt’s a streak she’ll have a chance to continue when No. 21 Syracuse (10-3) opens up Atlantic Coast Conference play on Sunday against No. 4 Notre Dame (13-1) at 1 p.m. in the Carrier Dome. “She’s a natural scorer, and she’s finding a way to put points on the board,” SU head coach Quentin Hillsman said. “Obviously, when you have a player that can do that, you want to take advantage of that skill set.” Hillsman said before the season that he hoped Henderson would counter the scoring drop-off that would follow the injury to star guard Brittney Sykes. Now, even with Sykes back, Henderson’s finding ways to make herself a threat offensively.But when Syracuse played North Carolina Central on Dec. 14, the shooting stroke that Henderson has since proved capable of was nowhere to be found. Despite playing only 16 minutes, she shot 1-of-12 from the field, with her only make coming with 50 seconds left to play in the 45-point Syracuse win.Hillsman employs a strict shoot-if-you’re-open rule that applies to all of the Syracuse shooters, Henderson said. And while it may be a crutch on a bad shooting day, she admitted that shooting is the best way to get out of a slump. With her recent surge, she’s become second on the team with a 3-point percentage of 35.2. Her 12.2 points per game are good for 27th in the ACC. Just weeks ago she was averaging only 9.7.“I knew from the jump that she was a great scorer. And while watching her, I try to learn from her,” Sykes said. “She’s a fifth-year, she’s been in college longer than me playing college basketball. So to learn from a scorer like her and pick up some things, it was good for me.” Regardless of the ups and downs she’s had on the court this season, just having a fifth-year senior’s presence has been beneficial for a team that has only one other player on the roster in her final year of eligibility.And now, all the expectations that followed Henderson to Syracuse are starting to come together for her.“I think I’m playing alright,” Henderson said. “I don’t think I’ve played my best basketball yet, but overall, I think I’ve been playing alright. You can only build from here.” Comments Published on January 3, 2015 at 6:35 pm Contact Sam: [email protected] | @SamBlum3
Maya Dondonyan | Daily TrojanSteve Sarkisian has officially been terminated as USC football’s head coach, Athletic Director Pat Haden announced Monday.The decision to fire Sarkisian comes just a day after Haden asked him to take an indefinite leave of absence, following his absence at the team’s practice on Sunday.“After careful consideration of what is in the best interest of the University and our student-athletes, I have made the decision to terminate Steve Sarkisian, effective immediately,” Haden said in a statement.Haden named offensive coordinator Clay Helton the interim head coach of the Trojans on Sunday after determining that Sarkisian was clearly “not healthy.”“I want to thank Clay Helton for stepping into the interim head coach role, and I want to add how proud I am of our coaching staff and players and the way they are responding to this difficult situation,” Haden said in the statement. “Through all of this, we remain concerned for Steve and hope that it will give him the opportunity to focus on his personal well-being.In August, the 41-year-old Sarkisian admitted to mixing an unspecified medication with alcohol and said that he would seek treatment after exhibiting unsuitable behavior at the annual Salute to Troy event. He later apologized, but a number of boosters had already begun to call for his job after he shouted expletives and threw jabs at the team’s opponents, while slurring his words in front of many big donors to the University.When asked if he had a drinking problem at the time, Sarkisian said, “I don’t believe so.”Based on a report released on Monday by the Los Angeles Times, it appears that Sarkisian may have been wrong about his difficulties with alcohol — issues with drinking have followed him from his days as a head coach at Washington.Sarkisian, who was hired in December 2013, went 12-6 during his short 18-game tenure as head coach of USC — the same record that former coach Lane Kiffin attained through his first 18 games.In his only full season with the Trojans, Sarkisian led the team to a 9-4 record and a victory over Nebraska in the National University Holiday Bowl.During his tenure, Sarkisian was also able to put together a pair of nationally renowned recruiting classes.Expectations for Sarkisian and the Trojans were high entering this season; the team was picked to win the Pac-12 Conference in a preseason media poll.USC (3-2, 1-2 Pac-12), who was ranked as high as No. 6 in the AP Top 25 poll, fell from the rankings after suffering an embarrassing loss at the hands of an unranked Washington, Sarkisian’s former program, at home last Thursday.“This one is on me,” Sarkisian said after the game.Before coming to USC, Sarkisian rebuilt the Huskies’ program over five years as head coach, though, he only eclipsed the seven-win mark once during his tenure.With pressure at an all-time high, Haden and the Athletics Department begin their second coaching search in three years. Speculation has risen that USC is in the early stages of putting together a target list of head coaches to pursue.The Trojans, now unranked, will be forced to move on without Sarkisian and faces a tough task ahead, traveling to South Bend, Indiana, to take on No. 14-ranked Notre Dame this Saturday.With Helton now at the helm, the Trojans will return to practice on Howard Jones Field on Tuesday.“They still have a lot of things out there that we can obtain,” Helton said. “We have a big game versus Notre Dame this week, the opportunity to still compete for the South championship in the Pac-12, and again, I’m very fortunate to have a group around me as a staff that is as first class as they get.”As Haden pointed out in his abrupt press conference on Sunday, Helton is undefeated in the head coaching role at USC. He previously coached the Trojans to victory over Fresno State in the Las Vegas Bowl in 2013.Editors note: This article was updated at 9:46 p.m.