Liverpool reached the final of the Europa League and League Cup last season. For a time, they seemed to have a real shot at cracking the top four despite a slow start to the season and a change of managers in the autumn. For a time, the season looked set to be a special one.
In the end, though, they walked away with nothing to show for their efforts. No trophies, no titles, no top four. This season, they won’t be competing in Europe. It was a harsh lesson to learn, but one that Jordan Henderson say will help the club in their first full season under Jürgen Klopp.
"I think you’ve got to use both of those experiences as best you can," Liverpool’s captain told the club’s official website today. "They were disappointing defeats but hopefully if we get in another final soon then we know exactly what to expect and use that drive to push on even more.
"The experiences we had last season, I felt as though we improved throughout the season and I think we’ll just continue to improve. We’ve got new faces coming in who’ll improve the squad and I feel as though we’re going in the right direction."
Part of that will be increased competition, including at Henderson’s position in midfield, where new signing Gini Wijnaldum could be in line to push the captain hard for minutes. After struggling all last season with a plantar facsiitis, staying healthy will be key to Henderson’s chances.
If he can stay fit and return to his 2014-15 form when he scored seven goals and 15 assists, or the year before when he was Liverpool’s most important player in midfield as the club fell just short of their first title of the Premier League season, he will be hard to knock out of the starting eleven. And Liverpool will surely benefit from that.
"With the team we’ve got and the manager we’ve got, we can definitely do something great this year," Henderson added. "We’ve got to just focus on ourselves. There have been a lot of changes at other clubs but I’m very confident we can do well this season."