New captain Jordan Henderson has given a lengthy interview, cited here in the Echo, in which he discussed last season’s Stoke capitulation, the thoughts of the players afterwards and the aims for the new term.
The 25-year-old was part of the hapless side that fell 6-1 on the final day of the 2014/15 campaign, which confirmed our 6th place finish and led to crisis talks between the club’s hierarchy and the management.
Henderson says the pain of the defeat was such that he’ll never forget it.
“At half-time in the dressing room, a few of us tried to say some things to get everyone going and get something back,” the new skipper began.
“But then full-time came and it was awful. It was a sickening feeling, really.
“It was embarrassing to go there as a Liverpool player and get beaten like that.
“There is nobody more disappointed in the dressing room than the players but you have got fans who have supported the club for however many years and paid a lot of money to go and watch us.
“The very least they want to see is a team that puts up a fight and gives everything for them.
“They wouldn’t accept what they saw that day and nor should they.
“Look at the goals we conceded. We expect high standards from ourselves and so do the supporters.”
Some of the squad were criticised for heading straight out to Dubai for an end of season holiday – but it was in fact organised as a tribute to departing skipper Steven Gerrard.
Still, the Stoke match meant few of the Liverpool players really wanted to show their faces.
“A lot of us didn’t want to go to be honest,” he said.
“It had been organised for a number of months and it was especially for Stevie.
“He has been such a huge role model for everyone who has been here and we’d wanted to make sure that we said goodbye to him properly off the field on a more personal level for him.
“If it was just a holiday, we wouldn’t have gone. That is natural when that happens. It stays with you but then there comes a point when you have to move on.
“I won’t forget that day in a hurry. That game will stick in my mind for a long time.”
Henderson will be captaining Liverpool though this term, and after Roberto Firmino, Christian Benteke and James Milner have signed, among others, there’s hope ahead of our trip to the scene of the humiliation on August 9.
We’re of course due to face Stoke at the Britannia again on the first day of the new season.
“You have got to keep it as a motivation to make sure it never, ever happens again,” Henderson said.
“For the majority of last season, we know that we didn’t perform to the levels that we were expected to.
“We had a good period but the start and the end, we never performed as we should have done.
“But I think last season will help us going forward. It will help the young players learn what it is like to play for this football club.
“I’m hoping this can be a big season and I am very excited to see what will happen.
“We have signed some outstanding players to help us move up another gear.”
We don’t think the armband could be in better hands this term, and Henderson’s pre-season performances and comments have proved he’s willing to step up to the plate.