Monday 21 May 2018

Henderson aiming to fulfil childhood dream

Liverpool face Roma in the semi-finals of the Champions League.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has a Champions League dream.
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has a Champions League dream.

By Carl Markham, Press Association Sport

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson admits the chance to fulfil his childhood dream of winning the Champions League cannot be allowed to cloud the immediate task in hand.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have a semi-final against Roma, conquerors of Barcelona in the last round, to negotiate before they can even think about a trip to Kiev – never mind lifting the trophy for a sixth time.

“I think you dream about those things when you are a kid really,” said the England midfielder at the launch of Liverpool’s new home kit for next season.

“Of course I have, as many other players have, but one step at a time. Roma are a fantastic team and it will be a tough test for us so we will just have to wait and see.

“We certainly won’t under-estimate them. They beat Barcelona 3-0 and they are a top team. It will be a difficult game both home and away.

“It will be a tough test but it is a challenge for us to go in there being confident with the way we have been playing, especially in the last round.

“We have to go there and do what we have been doing and hopefully get to the final.”

Henderson, who as a result of his recovery from a knee injury was an unused substitute when Liverpool lost the Europa League final to Sevilla two years ago, added: “We are obviously in a good place at the moment but at the same time it is important not to get too carried away.

“Our focus is on playing football and doing everything we can to win games, whether that is in the Premier League or the Champions League.

“It is a young team but I feel they are mature at the same time and are hungry to want more, learn and improve and that is the biggest thing.

“Having beaten City away we then put in the performance we did against Bournemouth (and that) shows the mentality of the players so we need to continue that, stay together as a group and focus on what is important.”

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Trent Alexander-Arnold has bounced back after a difficult start

Defender Trent Alexander-Arnold was man of the match against Bournemouth and the 19-year-old, who broke into the first team last season, has established himself as first-choice right-back as a result of injury to Nathaniel Clyne.

The teenager received some criticism after being exposed by Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford and Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha, and although he has bounced back, he admits it has not all been plain sailing.

“There has been a lot of ups and downs and twists and turns which maybe a lot of people have not seen in training and off the pitch,” Alexander-Arnold said.

“There hasn’t always been just a steady rise, there have been mistakes and bad games along the way that help you learn.

“It is thanks to those games and the trust of the manager that helps you get through those tough moments and to come through them and learn from them and not let them get you down.

“Looking back 12 months ago I would never have thought I’d be in this situation and I am grateful for it.

“Every time he (Klopp) has trusted me to play, especially in the big games, I try to show why he has trusted me and I try to do him and the team proud.”

Press Association

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