Jordan Henderson lauded the “resilience” and “character” of the Liverpool dressing room after the Reds were made to come from behind to overcome Sheffield United.
It was far from a straightforward encounter for Liverpool on Saturday evening, with Chris Wilder’s side providing a stern test at Anfield.
A questionable penalty saw the visitors edge in front before Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota both struck to complete the comeback, but it was not pretty and it was a game where Liverpool simply had to dig deep.
And that very mental resilience to turn the scoreboard in their favour and keep it that way was particularly pleasing for the captain at a time when Liverpool’s credentials continued to be questioned in the media.
Henderson was clear in his assessment of his team, however, and continues to pay no attention to those outside of the club’s four walls.
“[The centre-backs were] brilliant. It was always going to be difficult against McBurnie at the top, who is very good in the air, and then Rhian off him,” Henderson said post-match.
“It was always going to be difficult for the lads but I thought they coped well and worked the game out better, especially in the second half.
“I’m not really interested in [outside talk], to be honest. I’m just interested in what the mentality is in the dressing room and I’ve seen hunger and desire everyday to improve, to want to win games and I think we’ve seen that tonight.
“The resilience, the character to keep going, to dig in especially if you’re not playing to the level that you might be normally because we know we can be better. But I think we showed another side to us tonight where we can dig in and see results out, in Ajax and again tonight.
“Overall, it’s been pretty positive apart from that one game against Villa,” he continued.
“I think we’ve got to be delighted with the start, of course, we want to be better and that game wasn’t us but I feel as though we’ve learnt from it quickly and reacted in the right way as we have done many a time.
“Keep building, keep improving and focusing on the next challenge and the next game and that’s put us in good stead so far, so we just have to continue with that. But I thought the lads dug in really well tonight.
“We’ve had a lot of games and a few injuries so delighted with the three points and the lads showed great character again.”
For Liverpool, the visit of Sheffield United marked their second in the space of just 72 hours and is the third in a run of seven games in 22 days.
But having spent months sitting idle during lockdown earlier in the year, Henderson’s response to the taxing period of time was brilliantly grounded in everything else that is going on in the world beyond football.
“Yeah, but we love to play football so we want to play games,” Henderson added.
“I think if you look back a few months ago when we were sitting in the house and we couldn’t go out, we would have played every single day, so for us, it’s physically demanding but we are used to it, we enjoy it.
“We recover, prepare for the next game, use all the lads in the squad. Everybody is needed for the full season, hopefully, we can get a few back from injury but you’ve got to enjoy it, we’re playing football at the end of the day!
“We love playing, we enjoy it and there’s a lot of things going on in the world and it’s tough for people sitting at home who want to be here, so we have to try and do our best to put a smile on their faces even if it’s just for tonight.”