“It’s always a huge game. I don’t really need reminding about the importance of this fixture. I’ve played in enough of them to know how big it is for the city. I feel as though we’re going into it in a good place. Everton are a very good side but we’re confident.”
Jordan Henderson spoke to the Echo today about the Merseyside Derby and what it means to his side and the city of Liverpool. For the most part his comments were pretty obvious, but it’s also clear that Hendo and the squad take this fixture seriously.
“In derby games I’ve learned that anything can happen. Form doesn’t really matter, it’s just about what happens on the day. We just need to keep doing what we’ve been doing and not get carried away by the occasion. Focus on doing our job, putting in a performance and coming back with three points.”
Henderson, of course, has had to sit out the last set of fixtures against Everton. He missed the last trip across the park as he was still healing from a broken foot. That game ended in a 1-1 draw and marked the end of the Brendan Rodgers era at Liverpool. The return leg at Anfield in a 4-0 win, but Henderson also missed out on that thanks to knee ligament troubles.
This time around, Henderson is fit and available to play, and he’s anxious to sink his teeth into the challenge.
“You want to be out there, you don’t want to be watching. But I tend not to focus on my new position or how I am playing. I just try to do my job and help others around me. For me it’s about how well we are playing as a team and seeing the improvement since the manager came in. Having been on the sidelines quite a bit when he first came in, to watch it and now this season come in and really be a part of it, the fact we keep getting better and better as a team is satisfying.”
The skipper mentioned the side’s recent difficulties; the 4-3 loss away at Bournemouth and the 2-2 draw at home against West Ham. They did win their last league clash, 3-0 at Middlesbrough, and Henderson believes they can build on that in the Derby tomorrow.
“It was important just to get back on track in terms of results. I think we’ve felt that in terms of performances we weren’t too far away from where we wanted to be. Even against Bournemouth and West Ham, I still felt there were a lot of good things from us. We just needed to tweak a few things and I felt that we did that at Middlesbrough. The second half especially was very dominant and we deserved to win comfortably. I feel as though we’ve been playing well even when we haven’t won. There were just moments in those games when we didn’t deal with certain situations well enough and we got punished. It’s how you react to setbacks and I thought we reacted really well. Philippe would be a big miss to any side because he’s a fantastic player, but we have enough depth in the squad to cope. The players who have come in are very talented and are big players for this football club.”
And while Hendo likes his side’s chances, he knows that it’s a bit of a chellenge.
“It’s a derby so it will be physical. You have to win your battles. A lot of us know what to expect. The new lads have all played in big games and derbies before so they’ll be fine. You can’t get too emotional and risk getting sent off. It’s about playing with passion but with discipline as well. Yes, it’s Everton and it’s a derby. But every week is big in the Premier League. We need to look at it as just another chance to get three points. Throughout my time at Liverpool the expectation has always been to win.”