Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has insisted criticism of his teammates has been unfair, with one particular area of criticism aimed at Jurgen Klopp's men not cutting the mustard with the Kop skipper.
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has hit back at criticism of his teammates despite the side's disappointing Premier League season.
The Reds had not won a top-flight game in 2023, a run of results that had left them 10th in the table, ahead of Monday night's visit of Everton. In their previous three league outings, Jurgen Klopp's side had failed to score a goal, and their 3-0 loss to Liverpool had left them 10 points adrift of Tottenham in fifth place.
And ahead of the game with Sean Dyche's men, Henderson used his programme notes to hit out at criticism of the effort levels of himself and his colleagues.
"Recent results – and our form over the season in general – means we have to accept a lot of the criticism that has come our way. This is the price on the ticket when you sign for a big club and there aren't many that are as big as this one," he wrote in his programme notes.
"As players we know what our responsibilities are and what the expectations on us will be, so when standards do drop we know there will be no shortage of people wanting to point out where we are going wrong.
"Again, no problem – this goes with the territory. There is one criticism that I will never allow to be levelled at this group of players, though, and that is that they're not giving their all or that their desire isn't as strong as it was previously.
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"I see their desire every single day. I feel how much they want it. I witness first-hand the lengths that the lads are going to, individually and collectively, to try to make things better.
"The effort that gets put in at the training ground is incredible, whether it's injured players trying to work their way back to fitness or lads who are playing regularly. No stone is left unturned and no-one is giving any less than 100 per cent."
Henderson went on to admit that the results have not been good enough so far this campaign. But he promised supporters that the Liverpool squad will continue to work to rediscover their form.
"Results and outcomes may not be what they have been in recent seasons, but there has been no change whatsoever to our desire to be the best that we possibly can be for this club and for our supporters," he added.
"The commitment is as strong as ever. It is that simple. I also take into account what we have been through together. The 63 games we played last season; the schedule that never seems to let up; the current season being punctuated by a World Cup and all the challenges that this has posed.
"None of this is to make excuses, it is just to tell it like it is. For all of the plaudits that we received when things were going well, one of our most overlooked qualities was that this is an honest group that always gives its all and just gets on with things.
"Again, that is as true now as it was then. If anything, there are situations now where we might even be trying too hard. That's a natural consequence of where we're at so we have to find a balance, but I would rather have it this way than the opposite.
"If everyone is having a go, we have a chance. We just have to channel it the right way. All we need to focus on is the here and now. It is always all about the next game anyway and that principle is even more important at times like this when things aren't going well."
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