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World Cup 2018

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Home Sport Football

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson ‘back to business’ after Champions League woe

The England midfielder captained Liverpool in their 3-1 defeat by Real Madrid.

Jordan Henderson is ready to put Champions League heartache behind him and get “straight back to business” at the World Cup.

Henderson captained Liverpool in their dramatic 3-1 defeat by Real Madrid – a game that saw two major goalkeeping gaffes from Loris Karius and a first-half injury to star man Mohamed Salah.

Henderson and team-mate Trent Alexander-Arnold were granted extra time off before linking up with England as a result of their involvement and, while the memories of his night in Kiev are still raw, the midfielder is focused on the task at hand.

Having sat out Saturday’s 2-1 Wembley win over Nigeria, Henderson will return to the Three Lions midfield when Costa Rica visit Elland Road for a farewell friendly on Thursday.

“It’s been difficult over the last 10 days. It was hard to take,” he said.

“I’ve had a little bit of time off and time with the family, which was important. It was good to get my head around it and have some down-time to refocus on what is important and that is the World Cup now.

“That is where the focus has got to be. I think it is a good thing, I get straight back to business.

“What’s important is doing the best I can for the national team.”

Jordan Pickford is another England player preparing for a big summer after winning the battle for the number one shirt.

The 24-year-old was born just a few miles away from Henderson and the pair both made their names at Sunderland before moving to Merseyside.

But while the older man is part of the furniture at Anfield, Pickford has endured a turbulent first season across Stanley Park with Everton.

Since signing for the Toffees a year ago, he is already on a fourth manager – Ronald Koeman, caretaker David Unsworth, Sam Allardyce and the newly appointed Marco Silva.

That has not stopped him winning Gareth Southgate’s confidence, but Pickford is taking nothing for granted with Jack Butland and Nick Pope snapping at his heels.

“Obviously going to my first World Cup and getting the number one jersey as a goalkeeper means a massive amount, but it’s a number – it’s not the main the thing,” he told Press Association Sport.

“I’ve got to keep working hard every day to keep the shirt. I’ve only played three games but I’ve never been fazed by any of the games.

“Playing for England means the world to us but I don’t put pressure on myself.”

Pickford is also banking on Butland and Pope to provide support as well as competition.

“We’re pushing each other every day, training really hard off and on the field and in the gym,” he said.

“We’re working together, as the cliche goes – it’s the union.”

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