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Henderson Cautions Against Getting Carried Away Following Hard-Fought Victory

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Though he's happy for the win, Jordan Henderson doesn’t want anyone getting carried away by Liverpool’s opening day victory over Stoke City. Philippe Coutinho's late strike, on the other hand...

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

After a crushing 6-1 defeat to Stoke City to close out a massively disappointing 2014-15 season, Liverpool needed a result on Sunday—also, amusingly, against Stoke—to kick off the new campaign on a more positive note. In the end, they got it, though Jordan Henderson is cautioning about reading too much into it.

"It’s a new season, a new start," said the club’s new captain, who for his own part had a solid if unspectacular outing, at times seeming limited by his role as the deepest player in a midfield that remains something of a work in progress. "It's important we don't get too carried away, it's one win, one game, so we keep need to work hard."

Paired with James Milner in a nominal double-pivot, it was Henderson who most often was forced to restrain his game, holding back to provide cover for the defence and to ensure the midfield players ahead of him would have a passing outlet. It looked a poor tactical choice for much of the night, and against better sides could be a problem.

The introduction of Emre Can late on got a third midfielder into the mix, improving the situation. Can may not be a disciplined holding midfielder, but against a Stoke side that hadn’t shown much in attack it was a necessary addition, and packing the centre of the pitch with three box-to-box midfielders was a marked improvement on two.

It also allowed Philippe Coutinho, seeming restrained himself at times for the opening hour, to start finding gaps from a narrow position on the left as Liverpool began to play something more like the 4-3-2-1 Christmas Tree that looked promising during pre-season. Belief began to grow, and Henderson knew there would be a goal coming.

"As soon as [Coutinho] tried to shift it on his right, I knew he would make the keeper work," added Henderson. "It was a fantastic finish. I always have the belief our forward players can create one or two chances towards the end of the game. As long as we stayed solid at the back I knew we would get a chance to win the game."