Jordan Henderson insists that Liverpool are ready ahead of the first leg of their Europa League quarter final against Borussia Dortmund and says he is looking forward to the challenge of coming up against one of the best teams in Europe.
“These are the games you have to really relish as players," said the Reds captain, who insisted that the two fixtures will be "two great games" that the entire squad are "really looking forward to."
The England international told the Liverpool Echo that it is a "very big game against a very big team" and said that he has seen the current Dortmund side "a couple of times" and knows the qualities of Thomas Tuchel’s men.
He admits that it will be extremely "tough" but he believes that the players in the current Liverpool squad "can go and get a good result" on Thursday night in Germany.
Dortmund are currently on a 16-game unbeaten run in all competitions and destroyed Tottenham Hotspur 5-1 over two legs in the last round and it may have been the Spurs players himselves who told Liverpool’s No.14 just "how good they are" when he was away on England duty.
Liverpool were handed the toughest draw in the competition with Dortmund being the favourites to lift the trophy. However, he believes that to be the best you have to beat the best.
Henderson added: "They have some top players but I wouldn’t say it was a bad draw. If you want to win the competition, you have to beat the best teams that are in it."
He explained that if the Reds are "serious about winning the Europa League" then it was "always likely" they would have to beat Dortmund "at some stage."
Midfielder hopeful of first-leg result to keep tie alive
The game is heightened by the fact that Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp returns to his old team. During his time there he oversaw the meteoric rise of Dortmund, taking them to two Bundesliga titles and the Champions League final in 2013. The German's history there has only added to the drama surrounding the mouth-watering tie with Klopp returning to a club where he is loved.
Henderson admits it may be a distraction for the boss with the occasion sure to be an emotional one, but the most important thing for him and the rest of the players is focusing on performing well and getting the best possible result.
“It might be different for the boss going back to his old club," acknowledged the midfielder, who added: "But for us as players, we just need to go there and concentrate on the game and what we need to do.”
He said that it will be "a great occasion" at the Signal Iduna Park and said that "it will be an even better one if we can get a good result there."
Henderson also believes that the second leg being at Anfield will be key in deciding the tie. He does however understand that a good result in the first leg is extremely important as Liverpool hope to advance to the semi-finals.
“We’ve got the second leg at home and we all know what Anfield is like on European nights," continued the 25-year-old. He said that it's "down to us [the players] to go over there and put in a very good performance to get a decent result to bring back to Anfield", concluding that "anything could happen" then in the second game.