In fullJordan Henderson's matchday programme notes
Read the matchday programme notes from Jordan Henderson ahead of Liverpool's Champions League tie with AFC Ajax.
The captain writes: “Before moving on to the game-at-hand, I would like to pass on my sympathies and condolences to the Royal Family following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. Although we have all felt this loss as a country, it is important that we also remember that amid the national outpouring there is a family who are grieving and to keep them in our thoughts as much as we possibly can.
“None of this is about football, of course, but following the announcement of the Queen’s death I saw an old picture of her presenting the FA Cup to Ron Yeats in 1965 and it reminded me of just how big a part she played in public life for so long.
“This was our big moment as a club, one that happened almost 60 years ago, and Queen Elizabeth was part of it. It’s great that our younger fans get to see this photograph because it really is beautiful.
“Maybe it means more to me as captain because Ron was one of my predecessors and I’ve come to learn how special it is to lift trophies at this club, but to lift a trophy like the FA Cup you need someone to present it and I can only imagine how much pride Ron felt at that moment.
“Everyone in the country will have their own memories of the Queen and this is one of ours as a club – we will always be grateful for that and for all of the other duties that she performed which touched the lives of so many.
“We have a game to play tonight, of course, and it is a big one. Ajax in the Champions League is the kind of fixture that is designed to lift the spirits.
“The history of both clubs speaks for itself so hopefully everyone involved can live up to the expectation that this fixture has produced. For us, that means raising our standards after last week’s setback in Naples on what was a night to forget.
“There haven’t been too many games where we have let ourselves down individually and collectively in recent seasons, but there’s no question that this is exactly what happened against Napoli.
“Injury might have prevented me from being out there with the lads, but that does not mean I didn’t play a part because these kinds of setbacks tend to happen when standards have dropped over a period and, like everyone else, I have to take my share of responsibility for that.
“This isn’t me being overly harsh on myself or trying to take the pressure off the other lads either. The reality is that unless we stick to the gaffer’s mantra of everyone being responsible for everything we won’t get the reaction we need not just to what happened in Naples, but also to a start of the season which has not been good enough.
“Yes, there have been a few positives here and there, but there haven’t been anywhere near enough of them and this has to change. It has to change quickly.
“Let’s get one thing straight right now, though: we haven’t become a bad team overnight. The quality in this squad is frightening. We have players who have delivered over and over again at the very highest level.
“As a team, we have won trophies, reached finals, gone deep in so many competitions, played great football and given pleasure to so many. There’s no doubt that we are currently in a bad moment, but we have the ability to change that so it is up to us to do so.
“Like I said, I wasn’t in Naples but everything I’ve been told about the reaction of the lads afterwards indicates that they know what is required right now. There can’t be any blame-game or finger-pointing, we have to work together to find solutions and from what I understand this process began almost as soon as the final whistle went on Wednesday night.
“I can’t emphasise just how important this is. Yes, the manager and his staff can give us instructions and advice, but it is also vital that the players themselves recognise what is going wrong and take it upon themselves to put it right.
“Again, injury means I won’t be available for this one myself and that is a major disappointment, but it doesn’t matter who pulls a red shirt on, whoever it is has a duty to go out and perform to the best of their ability for this club. This is our standard and it is non-negotiable. People outside the club can talk about reasons why we haven’t been at our best, but we are the ones who have to find the solutions.
“For me, the best way of doing that is by working as hard as ever and by drawing on our experiences – both good and bad – until we reach the stage where the fluency we are striving for returns.
“I won’t be asking you for patience because that would suggest we’ve got more time than we really have. The reality in a Champions League group as competitive as this one is that there is no time to waste, so we have to recognise that and start clicking into gear.
“The sooner this happens, the better.”