Interview'We want it' - Jordan Henderson's Community Shield motivations
Lifting the FA Community Shield for the first time is a major motivation for Jordan Henderson and his Liverpool team this weekend.
The Reds begin competitive action for 2022-23 by taking on Manchester City in the annual curtain-raiser on Saturday, with King Power Stadium the venue.
Jürgen Klopp’s men have yet to experience success in the Community Shield, losing the tie on penalties to City in 2019 and Arsenal a year later.
Putting that record right sits top of a strong list of incentives in Henderson’s mind as the squad depart their Austria training camp and focus fully on the occasion.
“It’s another chance to win silverware and we haven’t won it before,” the captain told Liverpoolfc.com at the base in Saalfelden. “So of course we want to go there and we want to win the game and we want to win the trophy.
“We’ll do everything in our power to do that and hopefully it puts us in good stead going into the Premier League season the week after.”
Watch in full: Big interview with Jordan Henderson
A single point separated Liverpool and City in the race for the top-flight title last term, with the destination of the championship decided in the final minutes of the final day.
They also tussled directly in the Emirates FA Cup, the Reds winning their semi-final showdown at Wembley and going on to claim the trophy in May.
And the chance for Henderson and co to pit themselves against Pep Guardiola’s side adds further significance to the Community Shield meeting.
“It’ll be a really interesting game for sure,” said the No.14. “I’m sure everybody is looking forward to it. We’ve had a decent break, so players, fans, everyone will be looking forward to the game.
“We look in good shape, so hopefully come Saturday we’re raring to go and we can get the result we want against City.
“We have pushed each other, challenged each other and the levels we’ve got to have been amazing really. When I think about it, they have probably pipped us to a few more than what we’d have liked.
“But for us it’s just about concentrating on what we can control, and that’s our performances, our results, and hopefully this season we can have another good season again.”
Henderson is preparing to begin the 12th season of his spell at Liverpool, who were, of course, also victorious in the Carabao Cup and Champions League finalists as they played 63 fixtures in 2021-22.
Their week-long stay in Austria has afforded the squad extensive time to further build their bonds as they plot another run at trophies in the forthcoming campaign.
Asked if the current group is the strongest he has been part of at Anfield, he replied: “Probably. It’s been strong for a number of years now but obviously the longer you are together, the stronger it gets.
“The difficult moments you go through together, the good and special moments you go through together, makes you more like brothers really.
“The lads that have come in have settled in really well straight away, which is normal here now with the dressing room that we’ve created. We are very together and hopefully we can show that again this season with the performances on the pitch.”
Off the pitch, Henderson is one of the architects of the beard being grown by James Milner, with the vice-captain around two weeks into a month-long facial hair experiment.
“I think it looks good,” said the skipper. “I think deep down he’s having it as well, otherwise it would have been off. Now he’s just saying it’s me and Robbo but deep down I think he’s thinking actually it looks alright.
“I’m happy with it. We need to get a little shape-up going when we get back because it’s a bit untidy, but we’ll get it shaped up, give it a couple more weeks and see if he’s happy or not and see where it goes from there.”
As club football gets under way for the new season, England have progressed into the final of Women’s Euro 2022 and will face Germany at Wembley on Sunday night.
A close eye has been kept on the tournament at Liverpool’s training camp in Austria and Henderson shared a message of support to the Lionesses ahead of its conclusion.
“They have obviously done amazing,” he said. “We all watched the game against Sweden in the treatment room the other night, some amazing goals and an amazing performance.
“I speak to a few of them anyway, I’m in contact with them. We’re all rooting for them on Sunday and hopefully they can finish the job off. But what they’ve done so far has been incredible.”