Jordan Henderson insists Liverpool will not be affected by the Champions League final defeat at the start of the season. Liverpool lost the May final 1-0 to Real Madrid in Paris. It added to the disappointment of finishing second behind Manchester City by one point in the Premier League.
Liverpool claimed the League Cup and FA Cup and Henderson dismissed any lingering effects from last season’s final game. “We had disappointments in the past and we didn’t have hangovers, so we always reacted in the right way,” the captain said. “We still won two trophies last year so it’s not all negative.
“It was a fantastic season. Yes, it didn’t end the way we would have liked but it’s football, it’s life, we get into it and we react in the right way and we just want to go back, to perform. I wouldn’t say it [the disappointment] made us more motivated, but you are always motivated to win the biggest trophies.
Henderson does not believe the title will again be between Liverpool and City. “Other teams are getting stronger,” he said. “You look at Chelsea, they are getting stronger, United will be stronger, Spurs will be stronger – they have done that a lot so far. You look at the other teams which will also strengthen.
“Yes, we have bought new players and I hope they can help us move forward and freshen things up, but we have to keep doing what we have been doing for a long time, focus on what we can do and perform at the levels we are capable of.
“We are constantly working to improve; we can’t care about others [teams] around us – it’s not under your control.
Henderson was speaking after Monday’s training session at Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium, where Liverpool meet Manchester United on Tuesday. Darwin Núñez limped out of the session with a foot problem, but Liverpool’s £64m summer acquisition doesn’t appear to be a problem.
Henderson believes the 6ft1in striker’s style will give Liverpool a more direct option. “He certainly gives us a different dimension in the way he plays. Policeman [Firmino] is a big plus after an injury last season – we have very good options.
Henderson has admitted that Sadio Mané’s move to Bayern Munich was a setback. “Any team that loses Sadio, it will be a blow because he is one of the best strikers in the world,” Henderson said. “At the same time, we have world-class players, especially in the attacking line: Luis Díaz, who has produced phenomenal performances [last season]; Darwin arrives; Bobby returns. Things evolve, change – hopefully we can adapt quickly.