Jordan Henderson is eager to seize his chance to impress Brendan Rodgers and stake a claim for a regular starting berth in the first team when the Reds face a tough test against Anzhi Makhachkala Thursday.
The 22-year-old has started two out of Liverpool’s three UEFA Europa League group games so far and came off the bench as the Reds edged past Anzhi at Anfield to establish a two-point lead at the top of Group A.
And so Henderson is all too aware of the threat Guus Hiddink‘s expensively assembled outfit can pose and he is keen to be given a chance to line-up against the likes of Samuel Eto’o and Lassana Diarra at the Lokomotiv Stadium.
“I think it’ll be a tough game for us,” Henderson told Liverpoolfc.com as the team flew out to Russia on Wednesday afternoon.
“We played Anzhi at home and got a good result, but we saw that they’re a good team. We’ve got the ability to go there and get a good result.
“They’ve got some very good players who can change a game very quickly.
“They counter attacked very well at times, so we have to be aware of that. It’s more about what we do, so we have to be focused and make sure we do the job properly.”
“Hopefully I’ll be given the opportunity to play,” he said. “I’ve got to take every opportunity that comes to me, so hopefully this will be another.
“The manager has told me to keep working hard, keep fighting for my place in training and when I get given an opportunity to take it. I hope to do that tomorrow.”
The Reds have scored eight goals in three games, a feat matched only by FC Dnipro and Lyon so far in the competition, and Rodgers’ men could establish a strong lead at the top of Group A with a victory in Moscow.
Henderson insists he and his teammates are fully committed to advancing as far as possible in the tournament and will put thoughts of a trip to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea on Sunday to the back of their minds for the time being.
“It’s a big competition and everyone wants to do well,” said the midfielder. “We’ve done okay so far, so hopefully we can take another big step tomorrow.
“We’re focused on this game and no one is thinking of Chelsea. We’ll give it 100 per cent.”
Normally deployed in the midfield position, Henderson was asked to fulfil a full-back role when the Reds took on Swansea at Anfield in the Capital One Cup.
“I played at right-back last week and enjoyed it,” he said. “I’ve played there once or twice before, so I knew how to play the position. We’d gone through it in training during the week as well, so I found it fine. It’s just another position to add to where I can play.”
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