News, Culture & Society

Jordan Henderson in his own words as the Liverpool captain reflects on a decade at Anfield

Jordan Henderson is looking forward to the future after he agreed a new contract with Liverpool but he has also been thinking about the past.

Earlier this summer, he celebrated a notable anniversary – 10 years since he moved to Anfield from Sunderland for £16million.

He is only the fifth man to reach a decade of service for Liverpool in the Premier League era and has made 392 club appearances – 196 of which have been as captain.

It has been a remarkable journey, filled with highs and lows, and Henderson has picked one picture from each season to tell his story.

Jordan Henderson celebrated his incredible 10-year milestone at Liverpool earlier this summer

1. WINNING THE LEAGUE CUP (FEB 26, 2012)

That’s the reason you come here, isn’t it? It’s all about winning trophies. If we had VAR back then, we might have the FA Cup, too! I played a lot of games but I didn’t have a great season. I had some good moments but my consistency levels weren’t great.

I was trying to find my feet but I had a bit of a shock about the pressure. You were expected to win every game. I kind of knew it before I joined but you don’t really understand it until you get there. You see what it means to the people, how passionate they are.

Lose a few games and it’s the end of the world. When you aren’t playing well, they let you know. I had to adjust to that. The hardest moment was losing the FA Cup final (2-1 to Chelsea). We didn’t do well in the league, either, finishing eighth. The trophy was good but it wasn’t easy.

Henderson has admitted to having felt pressure for Liverpool's League Cup triumph in 2012

Henderson has admitted to having felt pressure for Liverpool’s League Cup triumph in 2012

2. EUROPA LEAGUE GOAL V UDINESE (DEC 6, 2012)

It wasn’t a great game but the importance of it was huge for me. I scored the only goal and we got into the knockout stages. The thing about it was, if it had been down to the club I wouldn’t have even been there to score it.

The club wanted to sell me as part of a deal to get Clint Dempsey from Fulham. I didn’t want to go but I knew, from that point, I wasn’t going to play much. But I used the period to be better, stronger, fitter. I knew I had to be ready if a chance ever came.

Fulham was a big moment in my career but also an easy decision. I didn’t want to go. I had four years left on my deal and knew I had more to offer. I’d heard good things about Brendan Rodgers as a coach, so I wanted to see what he was like.

Brendan was great because he used to bring me in his office and tell me what he needed. His sessions were brilliant and he was the first manager to make me think about things tactically. I didn’t start a Premier League game for him for four months but that period of time was crucial.

Midfielder Henderson scored against Udinese but the club wanted to offload him to Fulham

Midfielder Henderson scored against Udinese but the club wanted to offload him to Fulham

3. GOAL V TOTTENHAM IN 5-0 WIN (DEC 15, 2013)

I suffered a lot in my first two years but I always knew I had more to give. That summer, I did a lot of work to be ready for the new season. I played against Olympiakos in Steven Gerrard’s testimonial and scored. It set the tone, really.

That day at Tottenham was everything we were about. My consistency levels went through the roof and I ended up going to the World Cup. I felt so confident every game, playing with Stevie, Daniel Sturridge, Luis (Suarez), Raheem (Sterling). They gave me the confidence to perform.

We got so close [to winning the title]. I look back at my red card against Man City, being banned for three matches and the Crystal Palace game we drew 3-3 and things that didn’t go our way. Do I think of what might have been? I did until we won the title. Well, to be honest, I still do now. We deserved to win it.

He recalls feeling confident in a number of games in 2013 and even scored against Tottenham

He recalls feeling confident in a number of games in 2013 and even scored against Tottenham

4. THE CHANGING OF THE GUARD

I didn’t think Steven Gerrard was ever going to leave. He was flying that year (2015); he still had loads to offer. He was everything you expected him to be and more. I think Stevie appreciated that football was everything to me. 

He knew it was my life, so that made him want me to do well.

He wanted me to get rewards and I always felt that he had confidence in me. When it was tough, I still felt he believed in me even when other people didn’t.

I remember the day he told me he was leaving, in the gym at Melwood. It was a big shock. We had to deal with life without him. Suddenly I had gone from not playing to being vice-captain and then captain.

Gerrard wanted Henderson to get his rewards and had believed in him when others would not

Gerrard wanted Henderson to get his rewards and had believed in him when others would not

5. BEATING MAN UNITED IN THE EUROPA LEAGUE

The first Liverpool team to beat a Manchester United team in Europe. 

It’s a nice memory but it (2016) wasn’t a great year personally as I had a lot of injuries. I felt like I was out of the picture. We then went to the Euros and that ended badly against Iceland.

I could never get a rhythm and when I thought I was just about getting there, I got injured and missed the Europa League final. 

But it was the year the gaffer (Jurgen Klopp) came in and got us to two cup finals, which was brilliant even though we lost them both.

Henderson fondly remembers Liverpool beating Manchester United in Europe for the first time

Henderson fondly remembers Liverpool beating Manchester United in Europe for the first time

6. GOAL V CHELSEA (SEP 16, 2016)  

After the Europa League final defeat by Sevilla, I asked Jurgen: ‘Am I in your plans?’. I needed a bit of reassurance as my confidence levels were not so good. I just wondered if he wanted me.

Thankfully, he said he did and he said I was going to be an important part. I came back after the Euros ready to rock and roll. There is always an element of needing to prove yourself at Liverpool, it doesn’t matter how long you have been there.

I didn’t feel he had seen the best of me and I had to show him. He believed in me to play that role and that performance gave me a lot of confidence to go forward. The goal at Chelsea was big, so was the win. It put us back on the road to finish in the top four.

Jurgen Klopp showed belief in Henderson too and his goal against Chelsea secured a big win

Jurgen Klopp showed belief in Henderson too and his goal against Chelsea secured a big win

7. CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL (MAY 26, 2018)

To get to a Champions League final was huge for us, it showed the progression we had made from the year before. I still can’t really look at this picture. I’ve never watched the game back. It was hard enough going through it in real time.

I remember bits of the game against Real Madrid; I know we started well. But it was just about key moments going against us. The performance wasn’t really that bad and, on another day, we come away with the trophy. I think we had to go through that pain to help us move forward.

Walking out as Liverpool captain in a Champions League final is a huge honour but what does it mean when you lose? Nobody remembers you losing in a final. I still felt confident there would be good things to come but I was asking myself: ‘How long have I got to wait?’

Liverpool reaching the Champions League final in 2018 showed the progression at the club

Liverpool reaching the Champions League final in 2018 showed the progression at the club

8. REACHING THE SUMMIT (JUN 1, 2019)

Beating Spurs in the final a year after the Real Madrid defeat was the best feeling in football I have had – and it was all down to Jurgen. 

Before he came, I remember watching Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League semi-final in 2013. We had gone to Madrid for a trip, as a group, to do something as Jamie Carragher was retiring.

We had tickets for the Bernabeu and I remember watching Dortmund and thinking: ‘They are absolutely unreal.’ I remember Jurgen being on the sidelines, with all that energy. I looked at it and thought: ‘Yes please! This is how I want to play — all that pressing, the counter-pressing, the tempo.’

I loved everything about it, so when I heard he was coming, I was so excited. I felt he was going to be the perfect manager for me but I could never show him early on. It took time to understand what he wanted. 

He always explained: you need to train for a good period to get used to me. I was like a sponge, listening to everything he said. He has taken me to another level all together. That night was everything. That moment, the two of us right there, was the best.

Jurgen knew he could take us there, that’s what the journey was about. You talk about the players here and everything but he showed us the way and we followed him. Without him, we don’t win the Champions League. That hug was just a special moment. It was my way of saying thank you.

Liverpool beating Tottenham in 2019 was all down to Jurgen Klopp, Henderson has explained

Liverpool beating Tottenham in 2019 was all down to Jurgen Klopp, Henderson has explained

9. LEAGUE CHAMPIONS (JULY 22, 2020)

When I came to Liverpool, I had one dream: to win the Premier League. That was what it was all about. When I learned they wanted to sign me, I thought we might have a chance. We got close in 2014 but I didn’t fully appreciate what we had got close to back then.

That 12 months was incredible: Champions League, Super Cup, Club World Cup. I just wish the stadium had been full the night we did this. The fans deserved to be there for everything we had gone through. But, at the same time, I’m just very grateful that we got the chance to win it and lift it.

The empty stadium didn’t take away from the sense of achievement. We have had a spell where the consistency was just off the charts and it took a global pandemic to slow us down.

Henderson's one dream joining Liverpool was to win the Premier League and it felt incredible

Henderson’s one dream joining Liverpool was to win the Premier League and it felt incredible

10. INJURY NIGHTMARE (FEB, 20, 2021)

Stopped in my tracks that night [against Everton], wasn’t I? What a mad season. I never thought I’d be a centre half! 

But I never thought the Euros would be a problem because it was far enough away and everything had gone as I had expected with my rehab. I knew I was going to be out for a bit of time. I’d felt the [groin] injury a bit before but I wanted to keep playing due to the situation we were in. 

I’d say people wrote us all off then. So to finish third was good and the lads deserve credit. They could easily have fizzled away but we fought for the final 10 games.

He also says he was 'stopped in his tracks' after picking up an injury against Everton this year

He also says he was ‘stopped in his tracks’ after picking up an injury against Everton this year

THE FUTURE

All this has ever been about is winning trophies. When you do it, there is always a moment a couple of days later when there is a sadness. You feel a bit empty after you have gone that high and it is the come down. You get withdrawal symptoms.

I felt sad a couple of days after we had won the Premier League because it had been about the journey leading up to it. You look at the hard times and it is all part of the process. You cross the line and there is this huge relief: ‘We’ve done it!’ But I want to do it again.

There is another journey to go on to make sure we get the next one. I’m grateful for 10 years at Liverpool and I’ve got to thank everyone who has helped me to get where I am.

But we’ll push again.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk