Jordan Henderson has urged Liverpool fans not to look at the gap to Everton in the Premier League table ahead of the Merseyside derby.
The Reds and their local rivals have enjoyed vastly contrasting fortunes in recent years. Liverpool picked up the Carabao Cup in February, the fifth major trophy of Jurgen Klopp’s reign.
Meanwhile, keeping any stability with a manager has proved Everton’s most difficult task. Since Klopp won the Champions League in 2019, the Toffees have had four permanent managers.
Frank Lampard is the latest coach to try to turn the tide at Goodison Park. Until the end of this season, though, his priority is keeping his club in the Premier League.
Liverpool, though, after going after the league title in a tireless battle with Manchester City.
But despite the contrasting fortunes, Reds captain Henderson has warned Liverpool fans about taking the situation for granted.
“Our games against Everton are among the first that everyone looks for when the fixtures first come out and I’m no different in this regard,” the 31-year-old told his pre-game programme notes.
“The derby is always a special occasion, so hopefully it will live up to the expectation once again.
“As ever, we’re expecting an incredibly tough game against an Everton team which has its own reasons for fighting for every single point.
“I can also say without any shadow of a doubt that anyone who uses the league table as a gauge for what will happen in this game should think again.
“I might not fully believe the old cliché about the form book going out of the window, but I have played in more than enough of these matches to know that nothing is won on the basis of what’s happened previously. It is all about how you perform on the day.”
Henderson also warned that Lampard has instilled a “fighting spirit” into Everton fit for a “proper derby”.
He added that Liverpool “absolutely have to earn the right to play” in the clash. However, he added that Liverpool’s recent form means they have all the tools to claim a crucial three points.
“This isn’t me questioning our mentality, by the way, I’m reinforcing it,” he said. “Every single quality that I’m saying we need are the exact same ones that we’ve displayed for some time and the lads deserve all the credit in the world for that.”
Henderson, Liverpool targeting Everton revenge
As well as their title hunt, Liverpool are also targeting revenge on Everton for last season.
The Toffees took advantage of the Reds’ poor form to claim a first win at Anfield since 1999.
Liverpool were suffering from a lack of fans and a host of key injuries. In fact, Henderson suffered a groin problem in the match which required surgery.
Everton also claimed a 2-2 draw with Liverpool at Goodison Park last season. But, Liverpool’s 4-1 win across Stanley Park in December avenged that result.