Everyone and their monkey is picking Manchester United to thrash Liverpool this weekend. Frankly, it's not actually that hard to see why; Liverpool aren't playing well, Manchester United are high in the table, and the match is being played at Old Trafford.
Jordan Henderson isn't having any of that. "United are not a better team than us," Henderson told the Guardian. "I see the quality and character that we’ve got at this club every day in training. We’ve showed it in glimpses and we can definitely go to United and get a good result. But it’s all well and good me sitting here and saying that, we have to do the business. I’m not saying United aren’t a good team because they are and they’ve got fantastic players, but so have we."
Henderson has been taking an increasingly visible role in Liverpool's leadership since being named vice-Captain in the summer. That's proving especially important now with questions swirling about whether or not Liverpool have sufficient leadership, especially with the end of Steven Gerrard's career approaching. "It is right to a certain extent because Stevie has done it for so long now and it is up to other players like myself to step up to the mark and take more responsibility," Hendo said of the perceived lack of leadership "I’m getting older now, I have got the vice-captaincy of late and am taking more responsibility all the time but we need to start doing that as a team, not as individuals."
How Henderson and the squad handle this new challenge will be important. Liverpool simply haven't been up to snuff this season, and now it's time to buckle down to find some way, any way to turn this season around. It's going to require a fresh focus and determination the likes of which we simply haven't seen this season.
"Everyone knows it has been disappointing," said Henderson. "We are disappointed as a team not to be higher in the league and in the next round of the Champions League but there is still a long way to go in the Premier League, we can still finish in the top four, we have the FA Cup, the Capital One Cup and the Europa League. There is plenty to play for. Of course, people are going to criticize when things aren't going well. As players we have to take on responsibility and prove people wrong.
"You are always having to prove something in football whether you are flying or not. Last season we had to prove to people we could challenge for the league. People doubted us at the start of the season but we had to prove them wrong and this is no different."
It's time for Henderson and Liverpool to step up. Next stop, Old Traffod. Let's shock the world.
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