Jordan Henderson, along with six of his teammates who lost to Newcastle last weekend, was left out of the side that faced Real Madrid on Tuesday. A media storm has engulfed Brendan Rodgers since releasing a controversial team sheet, but Henderson thinks the changes made sense, even if it meant he didn't get on the pitch.
"We've got a big squad and other people deserved to play," Henderson said in an interview with the club's website, dismissing all the hand-wringing of the press. "The Capital One Cup [versus Swansea] was probably one of the best performances, especially in the first half, of this season, in terms of keeping the ball, dominating possession and controlling the game. A lot of the players that played in that game deserved to play against Madrid. I was disappointed that I didn't have a part to play but hopefully I can have a good week's training and prove that I want to be back in the team for Chelsea."
Accused of fielding a weakened side in Europe in order to focus on the match against the Premier League leaders, Brendan Rodgers is likely to bring back many of the regular starters who didn't feature mid-week. Henderson seems very certain Rodgers is still sticking to his show-me-in-training-why-you-deserve-to-start approach to selecting a team sheet, but regardless of the line-up that gets selected, the midfielder is confident Liverpool can get a result against Chelsea if they work as a unit to defend well.
"It will be a big game for both teams and one that we're really looking forward to," Henderson continued. "It's a big opportunity for us to go out there and show how good we can be, especially against top opposition. You've got to make sure every single person is working as hard as possible, collectively as a team, and that we're defending very well. Also, creating opportunities in the final third, being brave to take someone on or get a shot off. If we do those things, we can get a good result."
Well, yes, about those opportunities in the final third...