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15th Sep 2023

“That’s Hendo’s problem” – Jurgen Klopp explains his side of Jordan Henderson’s exit

Lee Costello

Jordan Henderson

“There’s nothing to misunderstand from that point of view.”

Jurgen Klopp has explained his side of the story surrounding Jordan Henderson’s departure from Liverpool football club last summer.

The Liverpool captain did not seem likely to move away, especially not to Saudi Arabia, but relatively early in the window, he and his midfield partner Fabinho were gone.

In an interview with The Athletic, Henderson explained that he initially didn’t have any intention of leaving the club for Al Ittihad, but following a conversation with Klopp where the manager said that he wouldn’t be guaranteed to start regularly, he then decided to leave.

Speaking at a press conference before Liverpool’s trip to Wolves this Saturday, the manager admitted that Henderson’s interview was spot on.

“Hendo said the truth, in all departments. That’s how it was. There’s not a bit of bad blood or whatever. He is the captain of the most successful team this club saw in the Premier League era and rightly so.

“He’s a sensational player. I wish him only the best and, when he comes here, from my point of view he gets a real farewell, everything. There’s nothing to misunderstand from that point of view.

“We had our talks and I told Hendo I wanted him to stay, but we had to talk in these conversations about the possibility of not playing regularly. I told him we [would] bring in players and stuff like this.

“I cannot have a talk before a season and tell a player they will have 50 games this season, 100 per cent, because I don’t know that. It all depends on performance. And if Hendo had performed, he would have had maybe 50 games, absolutely possible.”

Despite this frank conversation leading to the skipper’s departure, Klopp insists that there is no bad blood between them, and because of Henderson’s inability to accept being on the bench, this move probably worked out best for everyone involved.

“Hendo is a fantastic player, I will love him forever, super guy, but he’s not great when he’s not playing, let me say it like that.

“Milly [James Milner] was like that when I arrived here and Lucas Leiva was like this. You always thought they are great guys but then the moment they see the line-up and they are not involved they turn into Jekyll and Hyde, it’s unbelievable!

“That’s Hendo’s problem, so you have to talk about that. He was my captain for seven-and-a-half years, so I had to talk about that because I don’t want to wake up one morning and need to lock horns with each other because he thought he would start and I tell him he isn’t.

“Obviously [for] Hendo that meant, “Okay, he doesn’t want me here”. I understand it 100 per cent but we clarified that.

“But anyway, what he said is that if I would have told him: ‘Hendo, stay here, you will be the main man in midfield’, he would have stayed. That’s the truth, but I couldn’t say that. As much as I wanted him to stay, I couldn’t say that.”

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