LONDON • Liverpool return to the scene of their biggest Premier League defeat this weekend with Jordan Henderson insistent that they should relish their latest visit to the Britannia Stadium rather than be intimidated by it.
Eleven weeks since losing 1-6 to Stoke City on the final day of last season, Liverpool begin the new campaign at the same venue.
It should be a significant test of the changes that Brendan Rodgers has made to his squad, especially as his position as manager was brought into question after that chastening setback.
The idea that there could be no worse place for Liverpool to start the season is one that Henderson refuses to accept.
Instead, the midfielder, regards it as an opportunity to show the improvements that have been made in the form of seven signings.
STRENGTH IN YOUTH
We will be stronger... We are a young team, but we have brought in quality.
JORDAN HENDERSON, Liverpool captain
"That is the way you have got to look at it," he said. "There couldn't be a better place for us to start and put what happened there last season to bed. It doesn't matter what happened last season. They are a good team but so are we.
"We will be stronger with the new players that we have got. We are a young team, but we have brought in quality. We have been performing well during pre-season and have got great quality in the team. We have got togetherness and we need that going away to Stoke.
"The fitness levels are good but we have got to be ready mentally. We know what to expect. They are a good team. We know what happened in May but this is a new season, we have got new players and we will go there with a lot of belief that we can get a good result."
Having succeeded Steven Gerrard as captain, Henderson will deliver his first serious team talk at Stoke having been confirmed in his new role during pre-season.
Although the England international is ready to consider reminding his team-mates of the pain they felt after their previous game there, he does not necessarily feel such a mental jolt will be required.
"You can do that," Henderson said. "But the lads who were playing that day will remember it for quite some time. It was a horrible day for everyone involved.
"We have a determination to do better, to improve as a team. We just want to focus on the positives and move forward. I think the quality we have added will make a big difference."
THE TIMES, LONDON