Wending their way through unconfirmed channels last week were stories of a post-match bust up in the tunnel between Jordan Henderson and Diego Costa after Liverpool drew 1-1 at Anfield against Chelsea. Vines of a Henderson staredown so lethal it could wilt steel quickly circulated, with this in-match moment suggesting that there was something to these rumours of continued antimony between the midfielder and the Chelsea star.
"I don’t know what you are talking about!" Henderson protested when asked about the kerfuffle on the way back to the dressing rooms. "There was nothing in it really. I just feel as though as I need to take that extra responsibility on and off the field to help the young players coming through. I’ve been through the same things as them.
"We have to be strong both physically and mentality against Chelsea, and I think we’ve shown that recently. We’ve shown that we can be physical when we need to be. Whether I get stick off their fans or not, it won’t bother me. I haven’t really thought about it to be honest."
Liverpool fans have certainly thought about it since the match, with the Costa altercation adding to Henderson's growing mythos as the likely future captain of the club. Still, Tuesday's match won't be easy, and Liverpool still have to get through it before they have anything to celebrate.
"I’m not sure whether Chelsea going out of the FA Cup will work for or against us," Henderson continued. "I’m sure they will just look to put it behind them. From our point of view, we took a lot of confidence from the first leg. We were a bit disappointed not to win the game but our confidence has really grown over the past month or two.
"The second leg might be a little bit different with Chelsea being at home. We know they might come straight at us from the off. We need to defend like we have been and look to hurt them on the break. It would mean everything to get to a Wembley final. One of our big aims this season was to win a trophy and if we beat Chelsea we won’t be far away."
With the club's FA Cup ambitions hitting a snag on Saturday after drawing Bolton at home, advancement in the League Cup seems doubly important in order to keep momentum going on the domestic cup front. Tuesday's match may be the toughest test Liverpool have faced yet this season, but if they can replicate the season-high performance they gave in the first leg of the semi-final, they might just find the success they're looking for.
This might be a good place to start.
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