Henderson: Time to step up
Jordan Henderson is aware that he needs to 'step up' for Liverpool and England following the departures of influential figures.
On the domestic stage, Luis Suarez has left Anfield for Barcelona in a move which leaves a sizeable goal-scoring void.
Internationally, the retirement of talismanic skipper Steven Gerrard has paved the way for the next generation of English talent to prove that they are up to the challenge of filling his boots.
Henderson will be among those Brendan Rodgers and Roy Hodgson are turning to for inspiration, with the midfielder aware of the need to raise his game for club and country.
The 24-year-old said: “We all have to step up a level, that had to be the aim – whether Luis was here or not.
“The whole point is you have to keep improving as a player. You have to always be learning from guys like Stevie.
“I feel as though I’m maturing. I am older now and I need to get better again from last season.
"I feel as though I’m maturing. I am older now and I need to get better again from last season."
“For England, I am slightly older than some of the others. But I have grown up with them through the U21s, where I was captain and I had a good relationship with them.
“If I am in the squad, I will take more responsibility, especially now with Stevie going.
“He’s probably the best player this country has ever seen, so you’re not going to be able to replace a player like that.
“What we have to do is develop the young talent coming through, and there is a lot of it. We’ve got to let them show how good they are.
“The likes of myself, Jack Wilshere and Ross Barkley need to take on more of a leadership role than before.”
If Henderson and Liverpool are able to counter the loss of top marksman Suarez, there is a belief within the camp that they are capable of repeating last season’s title charge – which saw them fall agonisingly short.
Henderson added: “We were so close to winning the league, it just slipped away at the last minute, so it really hurt a lot.
“But we can take a lot of confidence from that because we played so much good football.
“It makes us hungry to go back and finish it off this season.”