By 90Min
May 29, 2019

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has revealed what it was like to play against Lionel Messi for the first time, during the Reds' Champions League semi-final against Barcelona last month.

The Reds overcame a 3-0 deficit at Anfield in the second leg of the tie, capping one of the most exciting nights in European football history. Barça bowed out of the competition after blowing a three-goal lead for the second consecutive year, following a humiliating breakdown against Roma in the 2018 quarter-finals.  

Ahead of Saturday's Champions League final against fellow Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur, Henderson spoke with the Daily Mail about initially being left out of the line-up for the first leg of the tie, facing Messi for the first time and why he didn't swap shirts with the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

Henderson, who came on from the bench in the first-half of the first leg in Catalonia, said: "I would be lying if I said I wasn’t hurt before this match. I felt sick not to be named in the starting line-up but, as hard as it is, you cannot put yourself first.

"When you are the captain of Liverpool in a European semi-final, the team is the priority and always will be. As it turned out, I came on quite early as Naby Keita got injured. It was the first time I had been on a pitch with Lionel Messi.

"You don’t think to yourself 'Oh my God - that’s him' but there’s no question he plays the game differently to when you see him on TV. He’s so fast."

Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

Henderson also explained why he didn't swap shirts with the Argentine international following the match. 

The midfielder added: "Roy Keane told me when I was at Sunderland that if you ask for someone’s shirt, it looks like you are in awe of them. As it turned out, I came home with Luis Suarez’s shirt. Luis is a good lad and he gave me it as a gesture as we had played together for Liverpool."

After Henderson's roller-coaster of a year, the 28-year-old and Liverpool are set to attempt to avenge last season's loss to Real Madrid when they take on Tottenham in this year's Champions League final. 

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