Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson reveals 2016 moment he knew Jurgen Klopp would turn Reds into a force

JORDAN HENDERSON can pinpoint the moment he was convinced Jurgen Klopp would transform Liverpool.

And it came in a Swiss hotel bar following a crushing defeat to Unai Emery’s Sevilla in the final of the Europa League in 2016.


At Anfield on Wednesday night, Henderson’s quad-chasers will look to take the first steps towards a third Champions League final inside five years at the expense of Emery’s Villarreal side.

Roberto Firmino, James Milner and Divock Origi are the only other players who were in the squad that evening against Sevilla yet still remain at the club.

Klopp has overseen a complete transformation at the club and the only surprise is that Liverpool have not won more in this spell.

Henderson, an unused substitute for the 3-1 loss in Basel, said: “That night really sticks out. I remember going back to the hotel and the lads were disappointed.

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"After a result like that, you just want to go to your room, not see anyone and get your head down.

“But the gaffer was a bit different to what I expected. He got everybody downstairs in the bar area and we spent the night together.

"I felt he knew this was the start of something special.

“We had lost a European final. I was devastated. But the manager behaved differently to what you would expect and his mentality was different.

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“The confidence translated to the players. The motivation was to get to another European final. He sort of knew what was coming and through the years, has produced that.

“It has been pretty eventful since then. Hopefully we can keep this all going.”

Asked about the loss to Sevilla, “I have not thought about that final for a while. I have thought about Unai because we faced him and Arsenal.

“It was important after the defeat to Sevilla that we came back stronger.

"I thought Liverpool had a chance to come back stronger and we did. That night was a tough one to take. 

“We played a really good first half, should have scored more, scored one more and it did not count and it was game no 64 in that season and we had a lot of injuries. 

“You cannot compare football games when there are six years between.

"We would have loved to win a trophy and you have to learn from these things and that is what we tried to do.”

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Playing at left-back for the Reds last night was Alberto Moreno but he now stars for Sevilla. He could feature tonight having returned from an injury lay-off.

Henderson said: “I speak with Alberto now and again and they are a very good team. You have seen that over the performances in the Champions League against Juventus and Bayern Munich.

“This shows the quality they have and they also have an experienced manager who has done a great job.

"It will be a tough test as you would expect in a Champions League semi-final.”

Emery’s victory against Liverpool was his third successive Europa League win with Sevilla.

As Arsenal manager, he lost the 2019 final to Chelsea but continued his ridiculously-good record in the competition 12 months ago with a win over Manchester United in the final.

That success in Gdansk is how Villarreal qualified for the Champions League as they only finished seventh in La Liga. That spot is also their current position.

The Anfield skipper claims Liverpool will have to deliver a similar performance over both games to their second leg display in their previous semi-final, when the Reds overcame a 3-0 deficit to stun Barcelona 4-0 at Anfield to reach the 2019 final.

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He said: “We invested everything in the semi-finals both home and away against Barcelona and we got our rewards in the end.

"That applies here and the away leg next week. We need to be at our best.”

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