Jordan Henderson believes victory over Jose Mourinho’s Man United on Monday night can help erase the pain of Liverpool’s defeat to the Portuguese’s Chelsea side in 2014.
The Reds skipper was suspended for the Anfield showdown on April 27, 2014, in which Liverpool just needed a draw to keep their title hopes in their own hands.
Unfortunately, Brendan Rodgers’ side succumbed to a heartbreaking 2-0 defeat, as Mourinho dogged his way to a gritty win in typically defence-minded, gnarly fashion.
Henderson admits it is a game that still pains him greatly, but sees Monday’s clash with Mourinho’s United as a chance to move on.
“I will never forget that Chelsea game at Anfield when we lost and we were going for the title. It was frustrating for me,” Henderson told the Guardian.
“I was a fan, I was in the crowd, it was frustrating to watch. I was shouting at the ref to get things going a bit quicker.
“It wasn’t a nice game to watch but full credit to José. It was tactically very good from him and he is a great tactician, he is a world?class manager and he has shown that in the clubs he has been at. The way they played that game was very clever from José. We were on fire at the time and the way they played the game, very slow, sitting in, it was difficult to watch.
“They made it very difficult – throw?ins, goal-kicks, they were taking forever and that got everyone worked up in the stadium and it worked to their advantage because they got the result they came for and it had a big impact on us winning the league.
“I will never really forget that, so Monday will be a big occasion, if we can keep performing the way we are and win, to sort of put that to bed.”
The 26-year-old was bullish about Liverpool’s chances against their bitter rivals on Monday, lauding the team’s recent performances and claiming they are impossible to handle when in full flow.
“It will be a tough game. United are a good team who have some very good players and a top manager. We need to be ready and prepared for anything that is thrown at us,” he added.
“Every player for me is raising their game and performing really well,” Henderson says. “In the final third we have been very good, ruthless. We have some very talented players going forward and creating opportunities.
“We’re all getting on the scoresheet, we’re all getting assists, which helps us as a team. If you are the opposition, you don’t know where the goals are going to come from because they could come from anywhere.
“We want to be the best team, not only better than Man United. We want to be better than everyone and that’s the mentality we’ve set.
“I think we’ve got a lot of belief as it is with the performances and results we’ve had. We believe if we keep working hard and improving, not only as individuals but as a team, and keep listening to the manager, that we are definitely going in the right direction. That’s what everyone wants.
“This is a massive game that everyone will be watching but for us it’s another team who are trying to take away three points and we’ve got to stop that and make sure we win.
“They could try and spoil it but that’s up to him (Mourinho), isn’t it?” said Liverpool captain, perhaps in reference to the Portuguese’s previous tactics.
“When we played United in the Europa League last season we had them on the back foot because we had good momentum. We dominated the game and they never got off the back foot. But coming to spoil a game? I’m not sure.
“It’s for José to do whatever he wants really. He’ll do whatever he thinks he needs to in order to win the game. We will just be prepared for whatever is thrown at us.
“We’ll play as we have been. If we keep doing that, working as we have been, it doesn’t matter what other teams will do. They’ll not live with us.”