Jordan Henderson: I couldn't be more proud of the lads

Press conferenceJordan Henderson: I couldn't be more proud of the lads

Published 25th May 2022

Jordan Henderson says he ‘couldn’t be more proud’ of Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool squad as they search for a third piece of silverware this season.

The Reds make the trip to Paris on Saturday night for a Champions League final meeting with Real Madrid at Stade de France.

Henderson has already lifted the Carabao Cup and Emirates FA Cup this term and is aiming to add the European Cup to the trophy haul for the 2021-22 campaign.

The No.14 spoke to journalists at the AXA Training Centre during a pre-match press conference on Wednesday. Read on below for a round-up...

Training photos: Fabinho and Gomez involved as Reds get set for UCL final
25th May 2022

GalleryTraining photos: Fabinho and Gomez involved as Reds get set for UCL finalLiverpool trained on Wednesday ahead of the Champions League final - scroll through our photos of the session.

On the mood in the Liverpool squad after missing out on the Premier League…

The mood is good, to be honest. Training was very good today, I can see the excitement in the lads ready for the weekend, that’s good. Of course, we were disappointed on Sunday with the outcome, coming so close and then finding out what was happening in the other game, it was tough to take, but I couldn’t be more proud of the lads this season and how we’ve competed in every single competition. We’ve given absolutely everything [and] played the maximum number of games that we could have played. We’ve won two trophies so far, and we’ve got a big opportunity on Saturday to win another, so it’s all positive here. We’ve really good morale in the camp and we just can’t wait to get going again on Saturday and give absolutely everything one last time this season and try to get over the line to bring the Champions League trophy back to Liverpool.

On whether Liverpool need to win the Champions League to call it a ‘great season’…

Well, we want it. We want it badly. I think other people will judge that. For us, we couldn’t have done any more really if you look at the grand scheme of things with the games that we’ve played. We’ve put ourselves in an unbelievable opportunity for Saturday to go and be in another Champions League final, and I’m not really focused on what that brings afterwards. I’m more focused on that game, that’s all I’m focused on. I’m not really interested in whether that will make it a good season or not. For us, all our focus is on the Champions League final and then we’ll assess after that.

On whether there is a score to settle with Real Madrid after 2018…

Yeah, we’ve had a few laughs about that, to be fair. To be honest, I can understand from Mo’s point of view. It was a very emotional time for him to come off in that game in the way he did and get injured, it was tough for him, and it was tough for all of us. So, I get it. But for me, you don’t need any more motivation in a Champions League final. That’s all our focus is on; just going and performing. That’s what we dreamt of as kids: to play in big games and it doesn’t get bigger than a Champions League final against Real Madrid. We know it will be really tough. They are a fantastic side, a world-class side with world-class players all over the pitch, so we know we will need to be at 100 per cent if we are going to have any chance of winning. But that’s always the case in football and this is no different, so we are ready, and we’ll give it absolutely everything in Paris.

Henderson and Salah's pre-UCL final press conference

On whether he thought three trophies might be possible this season…

We always have belief. If we go back to the start of the season, we always say we want to compete in every single competition. It’s pretty difficult to do that and I feel as though we couldn’t have done any more this season in every competition we have played, and that comes from the young lads who have played from the Academy, all the way through to the first-team staff and squad. We’ve given absolutely everything all season; we’ve performed very well and rightly so we’ve been in all competitions right until the very end. Saturday is a huge opportunity to finish the season off on a high and we’ll do everything in our power to be able to do that.

On his feelings after the defeat by Real Madrid in 2018…

[A] very low point, of course, in my career. To get so close to your dream and then for it to be taken away at the last hurdle was pretty tough to take. It was a pretty tough time in that moment to lose to Madrid, but looking back I learned a lot from that, we all did, and we used that experience to be better, be stronger. To win it the year after made it even more special.

On how much he cherishes reaching the Champions League final…

You never know when the last chance or the last opportunity is, so that’s why the next opportunity is the biggest one and this opportunity on Saturday is huge. It’s everything to us as a team, as players and that’s why we will give it absolutely everything. You never know what’s going to happen in the future, especially in football, things can change so quickly. You’ve got to cherish every moment and you’ve got to be ready whenever the opportunities come, but we’ve worked for a long period of time to get these opportunities – they don’t just happen. We’ve worked tirelessly for years together as a group and then when you get the opportunity, you need to be ready and give everything, and I know this team is ready to perform. We’ll do that Saturday and, hopefully, that’s enough for us to win the Champions League.

On how he is feeling physically after a whirlwind season…

Physically, again, probably my numbers speak for themselves this season. I’ve played a lot of games, I’ve felt really good, Mo has give us a few tips on recovery, which I’ve learned from and it’s helped us a lot. So, this season for me personally [it] has been really positive and I’ve been really fresh for the majority of the season. It’s probably the most I’ve ever played number-of-games-wise, I think including internationals, maybe over 60. That’s pretty special for me, especially when you get to your 30s and people start to question you and say you are getting too old all the time.

It’s nice to sort of put out those numbers and perform as well. I’m just very grateful that I could stay fit this season and hopefully with England; I spoke to Gareth [Southgate] a few days ago and we spoke about the summer and what was best for me and also the team with the amount of games, with the Champions League final and other players in the squad who are going to be playing. He felt as though the best thing for me was to have a rest, have a break and make sure I’m ready to go again next season in the best possible condition, and hopefully that will be a positive for Liverpool, yes, but also England when the World Cup comes.

On wanting to win the Champions League ahead of Sunday’s parade…

I’m not really thinking about that too much, to be honest. My full focus is on the game Saturday and hopefully we can perform, we can do the business in Paris and bring the Champions League trophy back to Liverpool. That would be extra special and something that the fans and the team deserve I feel, but we know it’s never easy and it’s going to be really tough and we’ve just got to be fully focused on the game and give everything like we have all season and see what happens.

On where winning the Champions League in 2019 ranks in his career…

I would say winning the Champions League in Madrid was probably the biggest moment in my career so far; the most special. To get over the line, to finally win the Champions League after missing out so close the year before, it was a really emotional time for me, for the lads, for everyone involved. I definitely put it there as No.1 in my career so far and that’s why I have even more motivation to sort of get that feeling back again hopefully on Saturday, that would be nice, and we can celebrate it again.

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Published 25th May 2022