Jordan Henderson tells Sky Sports' Patrick Davison about Liverpool's return to training and why he respects any Premier League players who have decided to stay away
Friday 22 May 2020 07:07, UK
Jordan Henderson is delighted to be back in training and has challenged Liverpool to "pick up where they left off" when the Premier League season resumes.
The Liverpool captain joined his team-mates as they returned to Melwood on Wednesday following a two-month hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Liverpool, like all Premier League sides, are working in small groups and following social distancing guidelines as they wait for the resumption of contact training, but Henderson says he and his team-mates are just happy to be back on the grass - even if the outbreak has put things in perspective.
"It's been great to get back and see the lads, get the balls out and be able to pass into each other and interact a little bit," he told Sky Sports' Patrick Davison.
"It's been really good and something I've looked forward to for a while now.
"I think a lot of lads will be the same. Football is taken away from you and it's obviously difficult because at the end of the day it's the most important thing to us.
"But then something like this happens and it puts everything in perspective. I feel lucky to be in the position that I'm in.
"You have a lot of time to reflect and think about things, but ultimately I was itching to get back playing football as soon as possible once everything had calmed down a bit and it was safe to do so."
Henderson kept in regular contact with team-mates and staff throughout the lockdown, but admits he missed the camaraderie in the Liverpool dressing room.
"You miss the banter," he said. "You miss preparing the games. You miss training and working hard with a view to having a game on the weekend or in midweek.
"It's just everything that you do on a day-to-day basis that you miss.
"But we're so fortunate to be playing football and be in the position that we're in. Sometimes you can take that for granted, but at times like this, you realise how lucky you are."
The footballing authorities are yet to reach an agreement on the exact date of the Premier League's behind-closed-doors return, but Henderson insists he and his team-mates have kept themselves sharp during lockdown with a view to picking up where they left off before the interruption.
Jurgen Klopp's side are 25 points clear at the top of the table, needing just two wins from their remaining nine games to clinch the Premier League title, but Henderson insists there is no room for complacency.
"To be honest, my mindset hasn't changed from where we left off because I always felt as though the season needed finishing at some point, whenever it was safe to do so," he said.
"So, in my head, it's always been [important] to stay as fit as I can because when the time comes that we do go back and we do start playing games, I need to be ready and so do my team-mates.
"We all need to be ready for when that time comes to be able to perform at the highest level and finish the season as well as we've started it and maintained it up until this point.
"That's been our motivation to keep training and keep as fit as possible, so when the time comes, we pick up where we left off."
Henderson insists he has no safety concerns about the return to training, saying he and his team-mates have been made to feel completely comfortable around Melwood.
"I feel very comfortable with all the measures the Premier League and the club have put in place, along with all my other team-mates," he said.
"We feel comfortable and that's why we're here training. In terms of next steps, obviously we'll be guided by the experts and the doctors who ultimately know more than we do.
"We've had meetings and questions as captains over the last week or so, but ultimately, I think the Premier League and clubs are doing everything they can to make it as safe as possible.
"The testing, the temperature control, the social distancing and the disinfecting of everything has been a really high level since we came back."
Following the news of six positive tests for coronavirus across the Premier League, however, Henderson insists he fully respects the decisions of players such as Watford's Troy Deeney and Chelsea's N'Golo Kante to stay away from training - and would support any team-mates who felt the same.
"I fully respect their opinion and their decision to do that," he said. "I think everybody is in a different situation with their family and at home. Ultimately, if you don't feel comfortable or safe, you shouldn't feel forced or pressured to come into work.
"I fully respect the lads that don't feel comfortable as of yet, and I hope that they respect my opinion and that of the other players who have come back.
"Everybody's situation is different but ultimately, for me, I feel very safe here at the training ground, otherwise I wouldn't be here. My team-mates as well.
"I can only really speak for us, but I fully respect people in different situations who don't feel comfortable. If any of my team-mates felt like that, I would fully support them and back them until they felt it was right to come back."
During the lockdown, Henderson spearheaded the #PlayersTogether initiative, a collaboration between Premier League players to provide financial support to the NHS during the fight against coronavirus.
The 29-year-old was delighted by how players pulled together and says they are aiming to announce more measures to support the NHS in the weeks ahead.
"It was down to players across the board in the Premier League really, especially the captains and representatives of each club who wanted to do something to make a difference," he said.
"Hats off to all of them for the help that they gave to support the NHS in the #PlayersTogether campaign. That's been a real positive for the whole Premier League over this difficult period.
"We're working on one or two things in the next few weeks as well, so hopefully that can get done and be another good thing."