Jordan Henderson has urged everyone connected with Liverpool at Anfield this evening to ‘bring their A-game’.
During his notes for the official matchday programme, the captain reflects on how special it was to be backed by a capacity crowd again during last week’s win over Burnley.
And he also calls on all who ‘bleed Liverpool red’ to perform at the peak of their powers when Chelsea visit L4 for Saturday’s teatime kick-off.
Henderson writes: “After going almost 18 months without playing in front of a capacity crowd at Anfield, today we will play in front of a full house for the second time in a week. I can safely say that I speak for all of the lads when I say we really can’t wait.
“Last weekend was something special, it really was. From the moment we stepped out for the warm-up we could feel the buzz and it lifted all of us. I hadn’t really expected the atmosphere to build until closer to kick-off, but 40 minutes out the stadium was already bouncing and it ensured every single one of us couldn’t wait for the game to get started.
“I’m not so one-eyed that I can’t see that fans make a positive impact at other clubs, but at Liverpool it genuinely feels like our support is on another level entirely.
“When I speak to former players they always have stories to tell about how the supporters created an atmosphere that inspired them and sometimes intimidated opponents. It is exactly the same for the current generation.
“I can tell you, in the days and weeks leading up to the Burnley game, we as players were talking about the return of supporters to Anfield. We had a taste of it in the two friendlies with Athletic Club and Osasuna and, of course, for the players involved in those respective games, that gave us all a lift and whetted the appetite for last Saturday.
“On a personal level I know what it means to have my name sung by the fans - and it has a huge impact on myself and my family. It makes me feel like I’ve earned something very privileged and, in return, it reinforces my desire to give something back to those supporters.
“I’m immensely proud to captain this very special and unique football club, but our relationship with the fans gives it that something extra because, at its purest, football is about the relationship between players and supporters and the way that each drives the other on.
“Feeling that support against Burnley was massive and it really did make a difference. At times, we may actually have got a bit too excited by it because it had been so long since we played in front of so many passionate Liverpudlians.
“At the start of the game it was hard to hear ourselves think, never mind pick up whatever instructions we were shouting to one another, but that is exactly the way we want it to be. That’s how we want Anfield to be every time.
“The manager said afterwards his favourite moment was the roar that greeted kick-off and when I heard that, I knew exactly what he meant and why he said it. We missed such moments so much in the last year-and-a-half.
“I’ve no doubt that today will be exactly the same. Chelsea are never anything other than a top-class opponent and they arrive at Anfield as European champions, so it goes without saying that everyone who bleeds Liverpool red will need to bring their A-game.
“Thankfully, if there is a venue in world football that is made for days like this, it is Anfield so we will embrace the challenge armed with the knowledge of what we can achieve when players and supporters are together.”