Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has revealed that he is proud of his team and squad as they haven’t used the COVID-19 outbreak within the club as an excuse to stop performing. The Reds have faced a lot of hurdles over the last few weeks and even had to shut down the training center as well.
With a rise of COVID-19 cases across English football, it had many fearing that the FA would close things down and postpone games for a while. However, while that never happened, it did force the Premier League as well as the English Football League (EFL) into postponing more than a dozen games over the last month or so. That includes a few Liverpool fixtures with the Reds the latest club to suffer from a COVID-19 outbreak.
It meant that their Carabao Cup semi-final clash was postponed although the Reds battled to a 2-2 draw against Chelsea in the league despite being without several players. That has made Jordan Henderson proud as he admitted that no-one at the club has used their situation as an excuse not to perform. The Liverpool captain also added that they need to keep going and make sure they keep their levels up.
“It’s no secret that the last couple of weeks have been hugely challenging for us on a number of fronts, not least dealing with a COVID outbreak which affected the playing squad and management at such a crucial period in the season. "In the grand scheme of things, I’m not naive enough to think that a football club experiencing these kinds of problems should do anything other than pale into insignificance given the seriousness of the problem around the world, but as a team it has undoubtedly been a difficult spell,” Henderson wrote on Liverpool’s official website.
“What I’m proud of, though, is that no-one associated with the club has used these issues as an excuse. Up until the point when it became impossible for us to continue, we have fulfilled our fixtures and kept on going even when we have been without key individuals either on the bench or on the pitch. Pep Lijnders referred to this after we drew at Stamford Bridge last weekend and he echoed my feelings.
“There was no feeling sorry for ourselves or looking for reasons why we might not succeed. We gave everything we had to try to get a win and even though we fell short, no-one could question our effort or our commitment. For me, this is a hallmark of this club and it is one that we should cherish because it gives us an identity and a collective spirit that can’t be dampened by circumstance. Whatever is going on, our bare minimum is that whoever is fortunate enough to pull on a red shirt on any given day has a responsibility to go out and give their absolute all,” he added.
The Anfield side play in the FA Cup next and reports have indicated that they will field a team mixed with youth prospects and senior players against Shrewsbury Town. Yet, Henderson went on to ask the team to keep up their attitude and performance levels especially when they face Shrewsbury Town as he believes that League One side will give it their all. He also added that Liverpool needs to be at their best as they want to avoid a defeat this early in the tournament.
“At the time of writing these notes I have no idea who will play today due to everything that’s going on, but I also have no doubt that the attitude and approach will be exactly the same as it has been.
“At the same time, I know Shrewsbury Town will turn up at Anfield hell-bent on making a statement for their club and their supporters because this is a great opportunity for them on one of the biggest stages and in a competition which made its name on the back of giant-killings and football fairy tales.
“We are under no illusions about what lies in store because the most basic rule of the FA Cup will apply – if we are not at our best we will run the risk of the kind of shock that we need to avoid,” he added.