Liverpool boss Klopp says Henderson 'is not good when not playing'

Jurgen Klopp admits Jordan Henderson ‘is not good when he’s not playing’ but insists there’s NO bad blood after the pair held face-to-face talks before the midfielder’s Liverpool exit

  • Jordan Henderson left Liverpool to join Steven Gerrard’s Al-Ettifaq this summer 
  • Jurgen Klopp claimed he could offer no surety over Henderson’s minutes 
  • Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off!’

Jurgen Klopp insists there is no bad blood between himself and Jordan Henderson following the England midfielder’s exit from Liverpool this summer.

Henderson brought a surprise end to his 12-year stay at Anfield by joining Saudi Pro League club Al Ittihad in a £12 million deal in July, and subsequently stated in an interview with The Athletic that his decision had been swayed by a conversation with Klopp over playing time.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday ahead of the Reds’ Premier League trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers, Klopp was asked about his former captain’s comments, but was quick to downplay any suggestion of a breakdown in relations.

He said: ‘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.’

Jurgen Klopp confirmed that he and Jordan Henderson had face-to-face talks before the player’s exit

The former Liverpool skipper joined Steven Gerrard’s Al-Ettifaq in the Saudi Pro League

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Klopp did, however, confirm that he had held face-to-face meetings with Henderson during the summer, in which he told the 33-year-old he would face a battle to play regularly for Liverpool this season.

‘We had our talks and I told Hendo I wanted him to stay,’ Klopp said. ‘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.

‘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. 

Klopp was full of praise for the player he dubbed the club’s most successful captain in the Premier League era

The midfielder has retained his favour with England boss Gareth Southgate and was included in a recent international squad

‘So that’s why it was better that Hendo moved on.’

Liverpool will be without another England international, Trent Alexander-Arnold, for Saturday’s trip to Wolves, with the 24-year-old nursing a hamstring issue.

They will, however, welcome back Ibrahima Konate from injury. Late decisions will be made over the availability of Alexis Mac Allister, Darwin Nunez and Luis Diaz, all of whom returned to Merseyside on Thursday morning having been on World Cup qualifying duty for their respective countries.

New signing Ryan Gravenberch is available and could make his debut.


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