London: Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson says a rousing speech by manager Jurgen Klopp following defeat in the Europa League final laid the foundations for their exhilarating Champions League run.
The England midfielder said he has inspired by the manager’s motivational words after the bitter disappointment of Liverpool’s 2016 loss to Sevilla in the showpiece in Basel, where he was an unused substitute because he was not fully fit.
Klopp predicted there would be more finals, outlining his vision of where he wanted the club to go, and Henderson was hooked.
“We were obviously down but when we got back to the hotel the manager had something different to stay,” he said.
“He looked at the bigger picture and the future and he felt as though it could be a big moment in our careers to learn from the experience.
“He had this sort of vision that made me think, in the future, we’d get to another final. He wanted to use the experience of that final to keep us together and use it as a positive. If we got to another final we’d be ready.”
Liverpool have played some sensational football this season and are top scorers in the Champions League with 40 goals. Their place in the final may have surprised many but Henderson believes it shows the positive mentality bred by Klopp.
“He is our leader and everyone looks up to him,” he said. “I have spoken about the manager having a massive impact since he’s come in, which he has.
“He has created a special dressing room with special players and I’m sure that will continue in the summer with new players coming in and helping this squad out to win trophies.
“I definitely feel we are going in the right direction. (I can) definitely see how hungry the team are to be successful.”Henderson said winning the Champions League would be a huge shot in the arm for the five-time European champions.
“Getting over that first hurdle as a team, winning the Champions League would be a massive step,” he said.
“The belief you get from that going forward can really put us in a good position over the next couple of years for the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup — more trophies we want to win.”
Istanbul to host 2020 CL final
Istanbul’s Ataturk Olympic Stadium will host the 2020 Champions League final, Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin confirmed on Thursday.
The 76,000-capacity ground played host to Liverpool’s famous comeback from 3-0 down to win the Champions League on penalties over AC Milan in 2005.
Ceferin had already reintroduced a tender process for bidding for finals since taking over as Uefa president from Michel Platini. The decision to award the final to Kiev was made prior to Ceferin’s election as president in 2016. — AFP...