Liverpool summer signing Jordan Henderson is ready for an opening day fixture that's close to home, as the Merseysiders take on his former club Sunderland at the weekend.
Henderson moved to Liverpool for £16 million in June, after spending three years with Sunderland and a year on loan at Coventry City.
The midfielder was the Reds' first signing of the summer, and kick-started a spending spree by Kenny Dalglish as he bids to build a side capable of challenging for European football and trophies next season.
And while it is a rather interesting coincidence that Henderson is playing his old team in his competitive debut for Liverpool this weekend, the 21-year-old believes that while his friends will be rooting for Sunderland – he’ll be looking to upset them!
“It's a big game but I've just got to treat it like any other one,” Henderson said. “Hopefully I can get into the team first of all, and if I get the chance to play I can make my Premier League debut for Liverpool and that's all that matters really.
“All of my family and friends are Sunderland supporters and will all want them to win but I'm a Liverpool player now and I'm looking forward to playing for them. Hopefully we can get a good result on the opening day of the season.”
Henderson revealed that when Liverpool showed their interest in him, the England international couldn’t say no to the history-rich club. “It was a massive opportunity for me to go to Liverpool because they're a massive club.
“Liverpool is a huge club and one that a lot of people want to play for, so it's a great honour to be here. I just need to keep doing what I've been doing for Sunderland, keep working hard and hopefully I can have a good experience here.”
While many young players would find joining a top six club an intimidating thought, Henderson insisted that Dalglish's belief in his ability has been a big confidence boost during pre-season.
He added: “I’m not daunted. I think it's more exciting to sign for a club like Liverpool. Obviously they have seen something in me to bring me here and you've just got to keep working hard to repay their faith. I'm sure if I work hard I can do that.”