Jordan Henderson is adamant that Liverpool will never again endure a season without European football.
This term, because we finished eighth in 2015/16 and failed to win the Europa League Final, we’ve only competed domestically, which is not good enough for a club of our stature.
During the first half of the season, it actually looked quite beneficial as we threatened to challenge for the title, but our collapse in January and February this year saw an end to that.
Now, we’ve got 11 games in which to secure a top four finish. It’s going to be incredibly tight as only seven points separate 2nd and 7th place. We’re in 4th, but Arsenal will climb above us if they win their game in hand.
For Henderson, he’s hated not being involved midweek and is desperate to qualify for Europe’s premier competition ahead of 2017/18.
“This evening is important because of where we are in terms of the league table and what is at stake with Champions League and European football qualification,” the skipper told the official website.
“The players never need reminding about this and there is no doubting the commitment and desire within our dressing room to be involved in it. We know it’s important to the club and to the supporters, but people shouldn’t underestimate how much passion the players have for achieving this.
“I’ve hated Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights this season when other Premier League clubs have had big Euro matches and we’ve had to watch at home on the TV. People have said at times during this season that not playing in Europe is an advantage in the league.
“Well if it is, it’s an advantage I don’t ever want to have again because we want to qualify each and every season. I’m sure the Arsenal players feel exactly the same, wanting to have those big nights, playing against the best and creating big moments and memories.
“No-one here needs reminding of how important it is to Liverpool, and for these remaining 12 matches we have to play with that focus of trying to secure European football for the club next season.”
The captain’s been out with an injury recently, but Emre Can replaced him admirably against Arsenal on Saturday. Whether the 26-year-old will be able to return on Sunday remains to be seen.