Players returning to face the clubs they grew up makes for a common story in football. A transfer, a bit of time, and a chance for either redemption or reunion. Sunday's match against Hull City, though offers up a slight twist on the narrative, as midfielder Jordan Henderson faces off against the manager who oversaw his rise to become a first team regular at Sunderland.
"I was at Sunderland with Steve Bruce, who I thought was brilliant for Sunderland and me personally," Henderson told the club's official website ahead of Liverpool's trip to Hull's KC Stadium to face the surprisingly mid-table side. "I've got a lot to thank him for, but hopefully we beat him on Sunday. It's another big game for us and we need to keep pushing on. We're all looking forward to it."
Henderson has come a long way since his days at Sunderland, and this season has largely removed the fee-based asterisk many Liverpool fans placed beside his name when he arrived at Anfield for a rather hefty sum in 2011. And while Henderson may have since played more games for Liverpool than he ever did at Sunderland—79 in the league and counting versus 71 and static—he retains fond memories of his time under Bruce.
It's fair to say of course that most Liverpool fans won't share that fondness, with Bruce seen as one of Alex Ferguson's disciples and a proponent of less than thrilling football on top of that. That his sides often manage to come up with some of their best efforts against Liverpool doesn't help, either. And fondness or not, Henderson is targeting nothing less than three points on Sunday afternoon.
"I'm sure he'll have them ready and raring to go on Sunday," he added. "It will be a very difficult game, so we need to make sure we're right on it from the start. We just need to keep playing like we have. If we do that, with our intensity, then I'm sure we'll be okay. It doesn't matter, home or away, we take each game as it comes. We want to win every game we're involved in."