'He thought I didn't want him' - Jurgen Klopp explains why Jordan Henderson left Liverpool for Al-Ettifaq this summer

Jurgen Klopp Jordan Henderson 2022-23Getty
  • Henderson defended Saudi Arabia move
  • Klopp told him he may not start all games
  • Midfielder says he wanted to be 'valued'

WHAT HAPPENED? Henderson said this month that he accepted a lucrative offer from Saudi Arabia because he wanted to feel "wanted" and "valued", instead of simply following the money. Asked about the midfielder's comments, Klopp confirmed on Friday that Henderson's fear of not being guaranteed a starting spot was a big reason for his departure.

WHAT THEY SAID: "Hendo said the truth. That's how it was. We had talks, I told him I wanted him to stay but we talked about maybe not playing regularly," Klopp said at a press conference."

"I cannot tell a player they can have 50 games because I don't know that. In our relationship, I thought it was important we speak about 'what happens if'. Hendo, I love him but he was not great when they didn't play, [James] Milner and Lucas [Leiva] were the same. So we talk about that now."

Article continues below

"So, in Hendo's ears and mind, he thought I didn't want him there. If I said Hendo would be the main man for me he would stay but I couldn't. That's why it's better he moved on. Not a bit of bad blood. Captain of best Liverpool team in the Premier League era."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Henderson has faced a lot of criticism for joining Al-Ettifaq, especially after his support for LGBTQ+ rights. While the midfielder admitted that money was a factor in his decision, he insists that his move to Saudi Arabia could be a positive influence.

"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 said. "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."


Jurgen Klopp Jordan Henderson 2021-22Getty20230905_Jordan_Henderson(C)Getty imagesJurgen-Klopp(C)GettyImages

WHAT NEXT FOR LIVERPOOL? Klopp's team are in action against Wolves in the Premier League on Saturday, while Henderson and Al-Ettifaq take on Abha in the Saudi Pro League.