Jordan Henderson says he is injury-free heading into Liverpool’s new season after a foot problem cut short a promising 2016-17 campaign.
Henderson was thriving in a new defensive-midfield role until February when contact injury sustained in training ended his season early.
The Liverpool captain has since returned to action this preseason and revealed in an interview after an open training session at the Mong Kok Stadium that he does not have to manage his foot in order to train and play in the Reds’ warm-up fixtures.
“I haven’t managed it,” he told reporters. “I’ve trained every day since I’ve been back totally fine. Obviously, I’ve been tired at times but that’s preseason — everybody is I’m sure.
“I’m really enjoying just being back. I couldn’t be happier to just be training here, working really hard and, obviously, just playing games.
“Hopefully I can just be injury-free and keep doing what I keep doing. Hopefully, we have a successful season as a team.
“I feel stronger every training session, every game, so hopefully I can keep progressing, keep working hard and then come first game of the season, hopefully I’m right back to full fitness.”
Henderson sacrificed part of his summer break to work on his recovery to ensure he would be ready to participate when Liverpool returned for preseason training on July 5.
The 27-year-old has appeared in all three of Liverpool’s friendlies so far and feels his match sharpness is slowly returning.
“I know that I can do a lot better, especially in the games that I’ve played,” he added. “I know I can improve on a lot more things.
“For me, it’s just working hard as I possibly can and then doing the best I can for the team and what the manager needs us to do. That’s what I try and do every time I play.
“I’ve had good moments in the games, but not-so-good moments. I think I’m just easing my way back from being out for a decent period of time. I feel good.
“Probably the best I felt was in the game the other night [against Crystal Palace]. I’m getting more and more confident each time I play.”
Meanwhile, Joe Gomez has admitted that his preference this season would be to stay Liverpool amid loan interest from Brighton & Hove Albion.
Last season saw Gomez return from a 13-month layoff through injury, but the 20-year-old only went on to make three first-team appearances.
“My main aim is to play here for Liverpool and under this manager,” Gomez told reporters in Hong Kong. “My target is to get regular football and I want to play at the top level and that’s what I am focused on at the moment.
“I feel like I just have to keep pushing and try to take every opportunity that I can to progress and keep learning.
“I feel 100 percent. I know that this preseason is a big opportunity for me to hit the ground running again.”