Jordan Henderson is set to make his 300th Premier League appearance for Liverpool against West Ham today. He will become just the fourth Liverpool player to reach that milestone. During his press conference in the lead-up to the match, Jürgen Klopp took some time to praise his team’s engine and explain why he thinks the 31-year-old midfielder still has more to give.
“Hendo is essential to all the things we’ve achieved in the last three years,” Klopp told the gathered media. “He had no point to prove.”
“If anybody thinks he didn’t play good last season or whatever, he was injured in the last part of the season and was very unlucky before that. He helped us in three different positions pretty much which was very tough.”
The injury and the disappointing title defense will have been especially felt by Henderson, the team’s undisputed leader, but Klopp was quick to explain that he has put no pressure on his captain to bounce back because he knows that Henderson needs no extra motivation to perform.
“He had a tough year, all of us did, and in the decisive period of last season, he couldn’t be involved because of injury. Then he went to the Euros and wasn’t involved as much because of the injuries before.
“That’s how it is but he doesn’t have a point to prove and I never want to give him that feeling because I know his natural motivation is already at the limit so you don’t have to put oil in the fire. There’s enough fire there already and that’s Hendo.”
Klopp also talked about how important it was for Liverpool to sign their midfield anchor to a contract extension over the summer. With the England international entering the final two years of his contract, the summer was full of speculation that Liverpool may not be willing to sign a 31-year-old to an extension, and there was even some belief that they may try to sell him.
In the end, LFC and Henderson were able to reach an agreement to extend his contract through 2025, and Klopp, who believes the skipper has plenty more fuel in the tank, was thrilled with the message it sent to his squad.
“The new contract is just what he deserves and what the club needed. We need players like him, and especially him, at the club in the long term because these boys, the qualities of them, the mindset of them, the attitude of them, they set standards for all the rest.
“That’s why it’s so important we have these players in the squad and on the pitch obviously. Hendo is not old, he can still develop and he has to and he will and I will not stop helping him with that.”
Contract extension or not though, Klopp was never worried it would affect Henderson’s play. He has no doubts about the captain’s drive or talent, and he knows he is lucky to have him as his on-pitch leader.
“That’s the situation so I was not concerned that the new contract could stop him being a crazy devil from time to time on and off the pitch.
“His mindset is made for winning things and I’m really happy to have him here.”