- Henderson left Liverpool for Al-Ettifaq
- Transfer was widely criticised
- Midfielder has now had his say
WHAT HAPPENED? Henderson left the Reds this summer after spending 12 years at the club to join Al-Ettifaq in Saudi Arabia in a deal worth £12 million ($15.4m) plus add-ons. The England international, who has always been a strong advocate of LGBTQ+ rights, received a lot of backlash from groups after his move to Saudi Arabia was confirmed, but says the transfer was not financially motivated.
WHAT THEY SAID: "That was the hardest thing. People will see this club come with loads of money and he’s just gone, 'Yeah, I’m going.' When in reality that just wasn’t the case at all. People can believe me or not, but in my life and my career, money has never been a motivation. Ever. Don’t get me wrong, when you move, the business deal has to be tight. You have to have financials, you have to feel wanted, you have to feel valued. And money is a part of that. But that wasn’t the sole reason. And these possibilities came up before money was even mentioned," he told The Athletic.
Henderson also claimed that his move could be a good thing for the LGBTQ+ community.
"I think people know what my views and values were before I left and still do now. And I think having someone with those views and values in Saudi Arabia is only a positive thing," he explained.
"Not once have they said, “You can do this, you can’t do this.” And I think it can only be a positive thing to try to open up like around Qatar. In the end, around Qatar, having a World Cup there shined a light on certain issues where I think in the end, I might be wrong, but they changed some rules and regulations to be able to host the World Cup and I think that’s positive. That’s the way you try to create positive change. And I’m not saying that I can do that. I’m one person."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Henderson also spoke about ending his long-standing association and said Jurgen Klopp had made it clear he would have to accept a reduced role if he stayed on.
"There were a few things that sent alarm bells ringing. I’ve got a very good relationship with Jurgen. He was very honest with me. I won’t go into detail about the conversation because it’s private, but it put me in a position where I knew that I wasn’t going to be playing as much. I knew there were going to be new players coming in my position," he added.
"If one of those people said to me, “Now we want you to stay”, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation. And I have to then think about what’s next for me in my career. Now, that’s not to say that they forced me out of the club or they were saying they wanted me to leave but at no point did I feel wanted by the club or anyone to stay."
IN THREE PHOTOS:GettyGetty ImagesGetty
WHAT NEXT? Steven Gerrard's side will be next seen in action on Saturday when they face Abha in the Saudi Pro League.