Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson says the 6-1 humiliation at Stoke City on the final day of last season was embarrassing – and that a lot of the players consequently didn’t want to go on the end of season trip to Dubai.
“A lot of us didn’t want to go to be honest,” he told the Liverpool Echo.
“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.”
Liverpool return to the Britannia Stadium for the opening day fixture, and the manner of last May’s defeat is one which Henderson says he won’t forget in a hurry.
“It was a sickening feeling,” he says. “It was embarrassing to go there as a Liverpool player and get beaten like that.”
“I won’t forget that day in a hurry. That game will stick in my mind for a long time.”
Henderson, who was appointed Gerrard’s replacement as Liverpool captain this summer, hopes that the defeat can be motivation for the future.
“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.”