Programme notesHenderson describes Wembley emotions and sets new focus
Jordan Henderson reflects on a special day at Wembley and renews focus for Liverpool's next challenge in tonight's matchday programme notes.
In his column ahead of the Emirates FA Cup fifth-round tie with Norwich City at Anfield, the captain details his favourite moments of Sunday’s Carabao Cup final win over Chelsea.
From celebrating to the soundtrack of Dua Lipa’s One Kiss to the special story of Caoimhin Kelleher and the contribution of the supporters, he reveals the emotions of another major trophy win.
But Henderson also quickly underscores the need for the Reds to use their latest piece of silverware as fuel and inspiration to press on for more in the coming weeks and months.
“There’s only one place for me to start and that’s Wembley,” the No.14 writes.
“As a club and as a group of players we don’t like to dwell on past victories because the challenge is always to secure new ones, but there are also times when you have to make an exception and this is definitely one of them.
“Where to begin, though? How do you put into words what happened? I’m no wordsmith and there will be plenty who will say it and write it much better than I ever could, but for me everything that took place from start to finish captured Liverpool Football Club at its very best.
Inside Wembley: Reds win Carabao Cup
“There were moments when we suffered. Periods of the game when Chelsea were on top and we had to roll with the punches. At times, our football could have been better and at others we felt the kind of stresses that only come when two top sides are giving as good as they get with the stakes as high as they can be.
“That’s what makes the outcome so special, though. Cups aren’t given out, they have to be earned and on Sunday every single player in red – those who got onto the pitch and those who didn’t – every member of the backroom staff and every supporter did their bit. If ever a victory was earned by togetherness and trust, it was this one.
“I mention trust because I think it was the crucial factor. From the gaffer trusting Caoimhin Kelleher to us trusting one another when the game went to penalties, every bit of faith paid off. It was the same with the fans, who never once wavered and helped push us over the line by keeping on believing in us and backing us all the way.
“It was a club win because everyone played his or her part, but I would like to single out Caoimhin and not just because he was the match-winning hero either. I think the way he has conducted himself since being given the opportunity to start regularly in the Carabao Cup is an example to all young professionals and all squad players. He literally couldn’t have done any better.
“He deserves much of the credit for this of course, but a share must also go to the other ’keepers at Liverpool, particularly Alisson, who is never anything other than generous and supportive of his teammates, because they have created a competitive culture which helps bring out the best in all of them.
“The same goes for the manager and the coaching staff for believing in Caoimhin and giving him chances to develop and prove himself. So too the coaches at the Academy who brought him along, investing time, effort and energy into his progress until he was good enough to take the next step.
“It really is a brilliant story and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer lad. Seeing him with the trophy at Wembley was a massive highlight for all of us, right up there with the lads dancing to Dua Lipa with our fans. Those scenes will live with me forever.
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“We don’t want to stop there, though. We have another game in another competition tonight and having won one trophy we have to keep kicking on. Experience tells me it is going to be tough as we are up against another Premier League team and we’re coming off a massive high, so we have to be careful on both fronts.
“Norwich gave us a really difficult game a couple of weeks ago and there was a period of that match when they would have thought they were on course to grab a win. So we know what we’re up against and we have to be prepared for that. It is up to ourselves to keep on setting our own standards and there is no reason whatsoever for them to drop now.
“We also owe it to our supporters to use our latest success as a platform to build from. Honestly, the sights and sounds they produced at Wembley were unforgettable. I’m biased, but with good reason and I’d argue with anyone that there is no other set of fans who are better at sensing how and when to give players that extra bit of help that you need from time to time. There’s definitely none better at celebrating!
“I’d like to thank all of you for that on behalf of all of the players.
“We literally couldn’t have done it without you. So let’s keep on working together, hopefully bringing out the best in one another and see where it takes us.”