The speed with which Jordan Henderson signed a new, long-term deal earlier this week meant that many were caught by surprise, but given how highly manager Jürgen Klopp rates his captain it shouldn’t have been a shock the club were looking to extend.
It also isn’t a shock Henderson would want to stick around given his opinion of Liverpool’s manager, who he says has made everyone at the club better since arriving in 2015 and—he believes—has the project nearing its desired end point: success and silverware.
“As a manager, tactically he is amazing,” Henderson said during a break from England training when asked about Klopp, his club side, and his new contract. “What he has done at this football club since he came in is phenomenal really, the transformation.
“No disrespect to Brendan [Rodgers] and anyone before, but I look at the transformation from when he first came to where it is now and it has gone up in terms of everything. He has brought the whole club together—the fans, the players, the staff.”
It may seem a touch harsh on Rodgers, who did his best and helped the side to both a title challenge and some of its most thrilling attacking football in the Premier League era, but the transformation Klopp has made at Liverpool cannot be overstated.
When he arrived, Liverpool were on the fringes of the top four at best. Now, they’re title aspirants and back amongst the elite, Champions League finalists and a top ten side in Europe. Before, it was about finishing in the top four—if things fell right.
Now Liverpool feel a club who can challenge for the league, based on their own merits and without any particular need for help or things falling right. Much of that, maybe most of that even, is down to Klopp. Now Henderson wants to be around for the payoff.
“He is such a massive influence,” he added. “For me, I’ve benefited so much from the last seven years here and now I’m ready to go even further, be better, and help this club become successful. That’s where all my energy goes into, to win trophies.”