There are a handful of essential ingredients to Liverpool’s recipe for silverware success – team spirit, a certain German head coach, an unwavering support, but, just as vital for tasting victory as much as the aforementioned is a little something called the ‘Hendo shuffle’.
The iconic celebration, known to Reds supporters in every corner of the world, made a reappearance at the Carabao Cup Final 2022 on Sunday at around 7.40pm.
It’s an all too familiar sight that Merseysiders could never tire of, largely because it signifies that a trophy is about to cut through the air and be thrusted above the captain’s head and this time, it was a record ninth League Cup victory.
And for the midfielder, the silverware was a timely addition to his collection. It's been a decade since Liverpool last laid claim to the trophy – beating Cardiff City in the 2012 Final – and, as the only remaining member of that League Cup-winning team, it was only right that he would mark the occasion 10 years on
“Someone sent me a video clip of me speaking after the game 10 years ago when we won it, which is mad,” said the England international, speaking exclusively to the EFL. “I was so young, but it’s flew by. It was funny to see 10 years on what we’ve achieved as a Football Club.”
In the last decade, Henderson and Liverpool have gone on to with the Premier League, the Champions League, the Super Cup and the Club World Cup, but this particular competition adds an extra layer for the skipper.
“It’s always special to win trophies for this Football Club, no matter what the competition, but it’s really special to win this competition again,” he beamed, as he caught his breath, still recovering from a pulsating encounter which saw Liverpool go through the motions of normal time, extra-time and a somewhat elongated penalty shoot-out, where they eventually prevailed.
“I’ve been very fortunate to be here for a long period of time. I’ve dedicated my life to this Football Club ever since I arrived. I’m very proud and privileged to be a part of it. I never take it for granted; I’m very honoured and proud to represent Liverpool and to win a trophy is extra special.”
It was a case of déjà vu for the captain as he watched on, as he did a decade ago almost to the day, as it was confirmed that the Final would be decided on spot-kicks, as it was against the Bluebirds at the Millennium Stadium.
Nevertheless, the Reds were well worth their victory, according to Henderson.
“I’m buzzing for the lads and the fans because they deserve today,” he exhaled. “It was a great opportunity for us to be here. I’m just thankful that we’re on the right side.
“It would’ve been a good game for the neutral – there were chances for either team – but I felt as though we did enough today to win the game and thankfully, we did. Hopefully now it gives us a big boost going into the remainder of the season.”
Henderson, aged 21 at the time when Liverpool last won the competition, takes his place alongside an illustrious list of League Cup-winning skippers, including Steven Gerrard – whom 31-year-old lifted the trophy with 10 years ago.
He showed his maturity on Sunday evening, taking the time to shake the hands of every Chelsea player after collecting his prize.
And he was full of praise for the younger members of the team who played their part in helping Liverpool get to where they were, having been in their shoes before.
“This really was a team effort from the beginning of this competition,” he explained. “There’s lads from the Academy who couldn’t be here today who have featured in the squads, so it’s been a big effort from the first-team through to the Academy. We all came together and won it together.”
But as he stood with a shiny round piece around his neck, catching the light of the Wembley arch, lit up in a deep red, he was already thinking about how good his prize would look alongside the one from a decade ago.
“I’ve got another one to add,” he smiled. “There’s always room for winner's medals.”