Jordan Henderson has been previewing this weekend’s Champions League final clash with Real Madrid and insisted the La Liga outfit are coming up against a ‘different’ side to the one they defeated in Kyiv in 2018.
The Reds fell to a 3-1 defeat agains the Spaniards four years ago, but the Liverpool skipper was keen to stress that he and his teammates have ‘grown’ since that disappointing night in the Ukrainian capital.
“I would say they are facing a different Liverpool, for sure,” the former Sunderland man told the Guardian.
“We did very well to get there when we played Madrid in the final in 2018. The lads were incredible. But we’ve grown since then. New players have come in, we’ve been successful, we’ve had bad moments as well within that period, and all of that you learn from. I definitely feel this is a different team to what Madrid faced a few years ago.”
The 31-year-old has won every major trophy on offer since moving to Merseyside in 2011.
He’s gone onto be one of Jurgen Klopp’s top performers in recent seasons and will have the chance to pick up his second Champions League winners’ medal on Saturday.
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In the clash with Carlo Ancelotti’s side, Henderson will also become the first Englishman to captain a side in three European Cup/Champions League finals.
The No. 14 admitted that winning Europe’s premier competition was ‘always a dream’ of his, but despite tasting success in the competition in 2019, he and his teammates remain hungry for more.
“The Champions League was always a dream of mine to win, the Premier League was always a dream of mine to win, and when you do that you need to re-evaluate,” he said.
“You need to process that and think: ‘What now?’ It’s about the next challenge and finding a way to want it even more. And I think when you do become successful and win trophies it makes you want to get back there even more and do it all over again. You learn that it’s about the journey and all the memorable games it takes to get there.
“This season has been incredible for that. To be in this position with a chance of a treble on the last game of the season is an achievement in itself. You have to give credit to the lads for that.
“The hunger has always been there, and when you do win the hunger grows, and you start thinking of other challenges, such as becoming a team that wins the Champions League twice.
“There are not many players who have done that, so to win it twice would be incredible. It’s the same with the Premier League – the first Liverpool team to win it in 30 years. You are creating history all the time and that’s what it’s all about. The more trophies you win the more history you create.”
Emlyn Hughes is the only Liverpool player to lift the European Cup twice for the club, but this weekend provides Henderson with the chance to do exactly that.
The game in Paris will be Henderson’s fourth European final in the famous Red shirt, but it’s great to see how selfless he is – he’s always keen to praise those around him and he really is the perfect captain for the club.
We’d love to see the famous ‘Hendo shuffle’ on show once again at the Stade de France this weekend – let’s hope the lads are at their best to create yet more special memories in this remarkable season.
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