When Jordan Henderson arrived at Melwood in the summer of 2011, the ex-Sunderland man couldn’t have imagined the trajectory of his career would see him on a course for the Champions League final as the captain of Liverpool under Jürgen Klopp. What a ride it’s been since that summer afternoon so long ago, standing with Kenny Dalglish and Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing and Alexander Doni holding a Liverpool scarf and mugging for the papers. Henderson is the sole survivor of that group of players flanking the King and then some.
It was always going to be weird for anybody following up Steven Gerrard as the club’s spiritual leader. Gerrard was Captain Fantastic, Henderson runs so funny that Alex Ferguson couldn’t help but include his thoughts on the player’s gait in his first post-management book. Can you imagine?
Henderson ran funny all the way to Kiev this season, leading out the most impressive Liverpool side we’ve had the privilege of cheering on in a very long time.
“I’m obviously so proud of the players, how hard they’ve worked all season to get to this point,” said Henderson.
”I just hope that we can go to the final and play like I know we can, because we didn’t do that [against Roma].
”We’ve just got to play with no fear, go and enjoy it, and I feel as though if we do that then we can hurt any team.
”And hopefully this isn’t the last final that we get to.”
Liverpool belong up at the top of the Champions League pyramid. European nights at Anfield and away boast of an atmosphere fit for victors from Liverpool supporters. Local support has played a massive factor this season in the Premier League and Champions League campaigns.
Henderson shows his and his fellow players’ appreciation for the loyal and wild support and expects the traveling Kop will be in full, glorious voice on May 26 when Liverpool will set out to best Real Madrid and lift the Champions League trophy for the first time since 2005.
“Liverpool fans are a big part of this football club, as we all know,” Henderson said.
”There’s a great togetherness throughout the club and the fans play a big part in that.
”They came in their thousands, were outstanding again for us, and they make a big difference to us.
”I’m sure a lot of them will be going to Kiev and trying to make an atmosphere as close to Anfield as possible for the final.”