Jordan Henderson believes today's showdown with Manchester City provides Liverpool with the ideal opportunity to produce a positive response to the midweek defeat against Napoli.
The Reds suffered a 1-0 reverse in the Champions League tie in Italy on Wednesday night, with Jürgen Klopp acknowledging afterwards the hosts were deserved winners but vowing his side would learn from their errors.
Such sentiments are firmly shared by Henderson, who has outlined the collective determination within the squad to conjure up a much-improved performance against Pep Guardiola’s reigning champions.
The captain wrote in his column in the official matchday programme: “I can’t remember the last time the team put in a performance whereby I felt we needed to apologise to our supporters, but Wednesday night in Naples certainly felt like one of those immediately after the final whistle.
“When we walked off the pitch at full-time the away end were still singing, but the truth is it’s our fans and not us that deserved applause and appreciation at the end. At the time of doing this column I can’t offer an explanation beyond: we weren’t good enough. We hold our hands up as a team, we got what we deserved on the night. But, as has always been the case with our team, we win together and lose together and we all take equal responsibility for it. No excuse and no hiding.
“I think the attitude of fronting up collectively, always accepting it’s the entire team and never individuals, is why every time we have had setbacks previously we’ve responded in the best way possible.
“What’s also important – and again, we are good at this – is to not make something bigger than it needs to be. To keep perspective. We can identify why something has happened, learn from it and then quickly move on. We will learn from what happened in Naples and the manager and backroom staff will make sure we do. Bad performances and results will happen, but the best teams manage to make sure these are kept in isolation. That is now our aim, starting again today.
“This afternoon gives us the best opportunity to respond immediately and positively. We’re playing the best team in England and arguably one of the best teams in Europe and the world right now. What Manchester City achieved last season was incredible and they’ve started this new campaign in the same manner. But last season we proved on a couple of occasions we are more than capable of going blow-to-blow with them and producing performances that deservedly win games against them.
“We respect Manchester City for what they’ve achieved and the quality they have, but it’s respect and not fear. I’m sure – in fact, I know – they have respect for us also. The thing with games like this one today is that you can never promise the supporters what the outcome will be in terms of the result, but I can promise that everyone in our dressing room knows this is a significant contest and an important one.
“I mentioned earlier one of our qualities is perspective, not making things bigger than they need to be, and that applies to fixtures like this. We don’t make it bigger – we just know it is big, it matters and we prepare for it accordingly.”
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