Henderson prophecy after Real Madrid defeat which sparked Liverpool trophy run

When Liverpool last faced Real Madrid, the defeat inspired them to go on to become kings of Europe and champions of England in the following two seasons.

Now the Reds will be hoping this meeting with the Spanish giants can help save this campaign as victory over two legs in the Champions League quarter-final tie will put them within touching distance of a seventh European Cup.

And that would keep their stunning rise from that night back in 2018 going.

So often the words after a final defeat can be hollow.

But when Kop captain Jordan Henderson stood in the bowels of Kiev's Olympiyskiy Stadium in 2018 and spoke with the media, it would end up being a prophecy for the future.

“I believe in this team," said Henderson, after the 3-1 defeat by Zidane's side.

“I believe we are going in the right direction.

“It is so difficult to stand here now and say that but that is the truth, it is how I feel. We have to make it happen.

“I believe we will be back in a Champions League final.

“I believe we will be challenging in all competitions domestically.

“The Premier League is important to us and we have qualified for the Champions League next year. We need to do it sooner rather than later.”

Henderson lifted the European Cup 12 months later and another year on from that he became the first Liverpool captain to raise the Premier League trophy to end 30 years without a domestic title.

That night in Kiev stirred something in Liverpool. They didn't want to feel final pain again.

They had been hurt by a shoulder injury to Mo Salah after Sergio Ramos brought him down in the first half.

Salah won't get his reunion with Ramos, though, as the Spanish defender is the one out with injury this time.

But it will be a chance for the Egyptian to show what he could have done against the La Liga giants if his 2018 final wasn't ended early.

Then there was the Loris Karius howlers which gifted the game to the Spanish side.

But despite Liverpool's rise to the top of the pile in Europe and then England, they arrive in Spain tonight with a season to forget so far.

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  • They have a stronger squad now and two major trophies in their collection but they have been ravaged by injuries this term which means there's no Henderson, Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez or Joel Matip on Tuesday night.

    Failure in this tie would mean the season will be without silverware after a timid defence of their Premier League crown.

    It would be a first sign of regression after years on an upward trajectory under Jurgen Klopp if Liverpool don't move past Real.

    To progress, those filling in such as Nat Phillips in defence will need performances of their careers.

    But the defender, who wasn't even in the Champions League squad for the group stages, can't be overawed ahead of tonight's first leg at Real's training ground stadium as they refurbish the Bernabeu.

    “They certainly are [an iconic club],” Phillips said.

    “And that shows in what they’ve achieved as a club, the trophies they’ve won and the level they’ve maintained for years and years, and the players that have represented them as well.

    • Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp offers worrying Diogo Jota update ahead of Real Madrid clash

    “But when you’re coming up against them as opposition, you don’t look at that.

    “At the same time, Liverpool are on the same level in terms of what they’ve achieved as a club.

    “So, when you’re going into a game like that you’ve got to treat it like just another game.”

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