Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is ready for the challenge a midfield overhaul will bring next season and is confident he and the team can rediscover the consistency which will allow them to close the gap to Manchester City.
Midfield is the key area which needs a refresh this summer and, with the club confirming on Wednesday the departures of veteran James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – in addition to forward Roberto Firmino – there will be some new faces for the next campaign.
Henderson will be 33 by then and entering his 13th season at the club but is relishing the competition which he may face, with Liverpool interested in Brighton‘s Argentinian World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister as one of their options.
“I don’t think it’s a rebuild to be honest. I do think there will be new players coming in. A rebuild is changing an entire team – which I don’t think we will be doing,” Henderson, speaking at NHS Charities Together event at a school in Crewe, told the PA news agency.
“I think you have a lot of core players in the team that will still be there and are still in great shape to compete and be successful.
“But yes, it will need freshening up of course with players leaving and trying to improve the team.
“I am sure players will be coming in at some point to give us a boost and freshen things up a bit and hopefully put us in good position come the first game of the season.”
On what that means for him personally he added: “It’s always a challenge, especially at Liverpool, there will always be challenges for places and to play games.
“That’s the case ever since I came to the club. Come pre-season I’ll be ready for the challenge again.
“Motivation never changes really, it is always about improving and being better, individually and as a team.
“Always new challenges come along, different things will happen and you will have new challenges throughout the season.
“There is always a challenge in football to improve, to be better and that motivation always stayed the same to be successful.
“I’m confident we can reach the levels we are capable of again, definitely. We have shown that over the past six or seven games and it’s about continuing on that path from now until the end of the season and (next season) pick up where we left off hopefully.”
Henderson is an ambassador for NHS Charities Together and was at Springfield School in Crewe, which caters for four to 19-year-olds with a range of disabilities and learning difficulties, after they won a prize draw having been involved in the annual NHS Big Tea fundraiser, which this year takes place on the health service’s 75th anniversary on July 5.
The England international, who spearheaded the PlayersTogether initiative which encouraged professional footballers to donate to the NHS during the Covid-19 pandemic, has an affinity with the NHS after his father was treated for mouth and throat cancer.
“My dad probably wouldn’t be here now if it wasn’t for the NHS staff, he’d say that himself,” added Henderson.
“I’ve got family members who work within the NHS and know how difficult it’s been, especially over the last few years with the pandemic.
“I’ve been doing work at different hospitals up and down the country as well and it’s been amazing to see the behind-the-scenes stuff and get to see some of the staff.”