Oh Premier League, we meet again. This week has been nothing short of miraculous for Liverpool, thanks to seeing Manchester City out of the Champions League and securing our place in the semifinals ahead. It makes the 0-0 draw with Everton last weekend almost worth it, knowing that ragtag squad patrolling Goodison were keeping things set for the week later. It makes this matchup against Bournemouth on Saturday all the more palatable. Bring on the Cherries, we can take them.
Captain Jordan Henderson, who missed the CL clash after accruing too many yellow cards, preaches caution, though.
“Tuesday was great but it’s gone now and we have to be ready for a massive battle for every Premier League fixture, starting this evening,” the midfielder writes in his Captain’s column in Saturday’s match program.
“We cannot allow Tuesday to be the highlight of the season. What comes next, starting now, defines the season.
”Bournemouth are a fantastic team who will love the idea of coming here and bringing us crashing back down to earth. It’s on us – whoever appears on the teamsheet – to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
It may seem hard to believe if you’re still buzzing on Champions League progression juice, but Henderson is right. Bournemouth are absolutely visiting Anfield to make all 90 and some change minutes as difficult as they possibly can - just like Liverpool plan to do for them. While the league is mostly wrapped up, this could be the deciding factor for top four placements and there is hardly any margin for error with Tottenham breathing down our necks.
Henderson, of course, has faith in the squad. Echoing sentiments of manager Jurgen Klopp, the captain underlines the strength of character that comes with being a Liverpool player right now.
”I mention the teamsheet because more than ever, in these closing weeks, the old adage that ‘the name on the badge matters more than the name on the back of the shirt’ applies,” Henderson continued.
”The game at Everton proved that every single member of this squad is ready to do whatever it takes to get a result for this football club.”
Players that had largely missed out this season got their chance against Everton last week and even though it ended in a draw, they all represented the belief that’s permeating the club right now. The club itself and it’s achievements are bigger than any one player. The spirit of Liverpool is bigger than any one player or trophy, and every player from Henderson to Nathaniel Clyne, can contribute in their own way. They don’t have to be scoring five million goals a week like Salah. They represent by showing up and doing the work - even if that work is playing in a rotated squad that only gets out with a draw.
These games against mid-table teams are going to be the moments, the hard minutes that will lend themselves to whatever achievement we gain down the line. They’re the lessons we’ve learned, moments that taught Liverpool as a club who they are and what they’re capable of this year and hopefully next year.
Fingers crossed they don’t blow it.