Jordan Henderson insists he still has a major fight on his hands to hold down a regular spot in Brendan Rodgers‘ first team, despite being handed a starting berth in Saturday’s season-opener against Stoke City.
The midfielder turned in an energetic display against the Potters as the Reds began 2013-14 with a 1-0 victory at Anfield.
Henderson admits he was delighted to be selected for the first game of the season — and now he’s setting his sights on remaining a permanent fixture in the lineup.
“It is always nice to play,” he told the Liverpool Echo. “We are a squad and I know there will be times when other people come in. I just have to keep fighting for my place and hopefully stay in the team.
“It was a good start for us and I think we played quite well at times. We had a lot of chances and we probably should have put it to bed a lot earlier but it wasn’t to be. The most important thing is to win your first game of the season and that is what we did. We ended last season quite strongly and we have picked up where we left off. Hopefully we can build on it. We want to kick on and do well against Aston Villa next weekend.”
Daniel Sturridge‘s first-half goal ultimately proved the difference for Liverpool against Stoke. However, the Reds had debutante Simon Mignolet to thank after the goalkeeper saved an 88th minute penalty from Jonathan Walters.
Henderson is well aware of the Belgian’s talents having lined up alongside him at former club Sunderland, and he’s confident he’ll prove a success at Anfield.
“Simon was brilliant at Sunderland when I was there and he has been brilliant since he came into this club,” said Henderson. “He will just get stronger and stronger and he will be fantastic for Liverpool Football Club.
“To save the penalty and then the follow-up as well was magnificent. It was a big moment and it will do him the world of good.
“It is a good way to announce yourself at Liverpool. Pepe Reina was unbelievable during his time here, but Simon has come in, and I think he will be a really good signing for us.”
Henderson also had words of praise for Kolo Toure, who marked his league debut for Liverpool with a commanding center-back display.
“I thought Kolo was brilliant against Stoke,” he added. “He has come in and is a real leader. He is talking all the time on and off the field and he has got a lot of experience which helps the whole team.”