Jordan Henderson felt Liverpool thrived on having a capacity crowd at Anfield as they defeated Burnley 2-0 in the Premier League on Saturday.
The captain came back into the starting XI for the lunchtime kick-off, making his first competitive appearance of a season that has now brought two wins from two games.
Diogo Jota’s clinical header gave the Reds a half-time lead against the Clarets, before Sadio Mane smashed in a second at the end of a flowing move to secure three points in front of a stadium full for the first time since March 2020.
Post-match, Henderson spoke to BT Sport about the display, the emotions of supporters being back at matches, Jota’s sparkling scoring form and more…
You’ve waited a long time to lead the team out in front of a full house – was it the performance you wanted to give them?
It was the result! No, I think the performance was good at times. There’s still places where we can improve of course, but overall we’re delighted – the fans are back, it was great to have them back, they gave us a lift. And we got the result in the end, so that’s the most important thing.
When the fans are there in a difficult game, because it was a little bit tricky at times, does it help keep the focus compared to last season?
Yeah, it keeps you going at times, definitely, the emotional side of it. Burnley are a good side, they make it difficult – we knew that before the game and they certainly did that with the set-pieces and long balls in behind. But I thought overall we dealt with it quite well and we could have scored more goals, if we’re being honest.
Diogo Jota has the magic touch at the moment, he seems to be able to ghost into space and find it…
Yeah, he has, he has got the magic touch. Around the box he’s lively and he manages to make the right runs. And when he gets in front of goal he normally scores. He has been outstanding since he has come back and hopefully he can continue.
There was a little sense of relief when Sadio Mane got that second goal…
Yeah, I think the second goal is important in the game. You know if it’s 1-0 in the last 10 minutes they are going to go long and get set-pieces in the last five or 10 minutes, then it can be really difficult. So I think the second goal was big for us to sort of kill the game a little bit. That was an important period in the game.
If you are to challenge for the title this season, does Anfield have to become the kind of ground where other teams are now again scared to come here?
Yeah, always. Always Anfield people will not like to play, I’m telling you now. Without a crowd it’s a totally different game, football was totally different last season with no crowd – not only at Anfield but in general. Now we’ve got the fans back it’s a different ball game. And hopefully we can keep our fortress, if you like, and teams won’t like coming here. We’ve got to make it difficult every time they do.