By 90Min
June 04, 2019

In case you haven't heard from the endless stream of Liverpool fans who have suddenly popped up in your life, the Reds won their sixth Champions League title on Saturday night against Tottenham in Madrid.

Jordan Henderson, a 28-year-old lad from Sunderland who had been widely mocked and used as a scapegoat by the Kop since Kenny Dalglish signed him in 2011, has become the fifth Liverpool captain to lift the European cup.

GABRIEL BOUYS/GettyImages

"No one deserves this more than you."


That was what long-time team mate Adam Lallana emotionally said to his captain following the final whistle, and his England colleague wasn't the only one to recognise Henderson's relentless hard-work and contribution to this legendary side.

After collapsing to the turf at the final whistle, he was seen going over to his father, who had suffered from throat cancer, and giving his old man a hug which seemed to last an age while in a flood of tears.

It clearly meant the world to the pair, and even the most cynical, anti-Reds observer would have found it difficult to begrudge Henderson this moment. All the heartache, the struggles, the hard work, had all culminated to this moment.

"This is your f***ing captain. This is the f***ing man." - Virgil van Dijk


It seemed from the get go that Henderson has had a point to prove during his time at Anfield, and was quickly branded a flop.

He was signed as an ambitious central midfielder from Sunderland for £16m, who could also play on the right, but the idea that Henderson would become the next Steven Gerrard seemed a ludicrous one.

Clint Hughes/GettyImages

Just a year into his time on Merseyside, he rejected the chance to move to Fulham as part of a deal to bring Clint Dempsey to the club, and Liverpool legends and fans were of the opinion that the former Sunderland midfielder just wasn't up to the job.

Even Sir Alex Ferguson had a pop at him, after the Manchester United icon bizarrely criticising his gait and running style in his 2013 autobiography.

"We saw his gait might cause him problems later in his career." - Sir Alex Ferguson

This was all fuel to the fire under Henderson, who seems to have made a career of proving his doubters wrong, and justifying those that believed in him.

He was made captain of Liverpool in 2015 following Gerrard's departure, and although he had some big boots to fill, those at Anfield cannot speak highly enough of their skipper.

Now granted, he isn't as good a footballer as Gerrard was, but in the astonishing team that Jurgen Klopp has managed to build, he doesn't need to be.

He was always there to give his teammates direction and do the dirty work when required, but still wasn't getting the recognition he perhaps deserved. 

"Winning will change his life, it will change all their lives. People around the world knew who Jordan Henderson and all the Liverpool players were, but millions more will know about them now because the Champions League brings a worldwide audience. It is the competition everyone sees." - Steven Gerrard


Following an unforgettable World Cup for England last summer, in which he played a crucial role in holding midfield, Henderson faced stiff competition to retain his place in Klopp's side.

Gini Wijnaldum, Fabinho, Naby Keita, Lallana and James Milner were all battling with the captain for a spot in the midfield three, and following the excellent late season form of Fabinho in front of the back four, Henderson needed to adapt.

Fast forward to 5 April 2019, when Liverpool were struggling to find the breakthrough against a determined Southampton side who were still fighting for their Premier League lives.

Enter Henderson, much to the annoyance of many Reds fans on social media. Why is Klopp bringing on a holding midfielder in a game they absolutely have to win?

Well, the German had other ideas, as he played Henderson further forward in the midfield three, a position he hasn't really played for years.

Suddenly, Liverpool looked a lot more lively, and Henderson was making lung-busting runs to support attack and defence.

He scored in their 3-1 win, and hasn't looked back since, becoming one of the first names on the team sheet.

Klopp had found a diamond that was right under his nose the entire time.

"He obviously likes the position, we haven't played him there for 18 months. Sorry about that!" - Jurgen Klopp

That Southampton game, and Klopp's decision to play him further forward, was crucial to Liverpool gaining silverware this season, and while it wasn't to be in the league, the Champions League isn't a bad consolation prize to say the league.

He was a key part of the side that breezed past Porto and completed that unforgettable comeback against Barcelona, so it's difficult to argue that he isn't one of the most important members of this incredible side.

Laurence Griffiths/GettyImages

Like him or not, Henderson must now be considered one of the greats purely for what he has achieved this season.

"Jordan Henderson is the captain of the 2019 Champions League Winners. That's satisfying, isn't it?" - Jurgen Klopp

His ability to adapt and his general consistency are greatly appreciated by Klopp, and Henderson's journey from perceived flop and passenger to beloved captain who is hugely popular in the dressing room is finally complete.

Except... it isn't, because there's just one more thing that needs to be ticked off the list.

Finally deliver the Premier League title to Anfield.

OLI SCARFF/GettyImages

Next season will be the 30th year since their last top flight triumph, and after coming agonisingly short to an extraordinary Manchester City side this year, they will be more determined and motivated than ever to finally deliver the trophy the Kop craves most.

And if next year is finally their year, then you can bet that Henderson will be a key part of that historic triumph, something that would have been unthinkable eight years ago.

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