‘This is the closest squad I’ve ever been a part of’

When Jordan Henderson leads Liverpool out onto the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium pitch on Saturday evening, he will do so sure that he captains the most unified squad he has ever been part of.

 Kiev is the location for this weekend’s Champions League final, which will see the Reds take on Real Madrid for the right to be crowned winners of European football’s elite club competition.

Liverpool have not reached this stage since 2007 – four years before Henderson’s Anfield career began and eight prior to him succeeding Steven Gerrard as the club’s skipper.

And the England international has explained how their thrilling journey this season has been driven by a strong sense of collectiveness among Jürgen Klopp’s players.

“I see great togetherness, I think about how well they have done, from the first day of pre-season how well they have worked – they all deserve to be in this position to play in a Champions League final,” Henderson told Liverpoolfc.com, after being asked what he sees when he looks around the Reds’ dressing room.

“Every single day in training throughout the season they have given everything and you get your rewards at the end of it.

“To play in a Champions League final is a dream for everyone but you want to remember it for the right reasons and that’s because you’ve won it, so like I say we’ve got to keep going, keep working hard and give everything when the time comes.

“It’s probably the strongest [team spirit] I’ve been involved in. I know it’s easy for me to say that, but I think you can see that on the pitch, to be honest, and the performances.

“To get to the Champions League final is difficult, never easy, so I think you can see how together everybody is when people score goals and people score their first goals like the other week with Andy [Robertson] and Dom [Solanke].

“I think you see how much it means to the whole team, not just them individuals, and I think that’s massively important in what we are trying to do, so we’ve got to continue that.

“I’m sure there will be new players coming in the summer as well, which they will be coming into a very good group of players, and hopefully they can strengthen us to win trophies.”

Just how important has that ‘great togetherness’ been with Liverpool having lost just once in 12 Champions League games this term, scoring 40 times in the process?

“Massive,” Henderson asserted.

“I think you can see how close we are off the pitch that translates onto the pitch. I think the manager has got a really special group of players that he has put together in terms of talent of course, but [also] in terms of people, how they go about themselves on and off the field.

“We’ve worked really well together as a team and hopefully for the next few years we can start building and become successful again.”

That feeling of unity around the club has not been restricted to within the dressing room, either, as players and supporters have shared several special moments throughout the campaign.

Progress in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, past Manchester City and AS Roma respectively, was celebrated after full-time with joyous scenes at Etihad Stadium and Stadio Olimpico.

“[It’s been] amazing,” Henderson continued.

“Not only at Anfield, where we have had some special nights, especially in the Champions League, but away from home.

“You saw in Rome when we were celebrating with the fans, that was an amazing feeling and moment because of how the connection between the players, the club, the fans is massive really, and it’s a big part of Liverpool. The fans play a huge part in us being successful as a team.

“They have played a big part in getting us to the final and the nights at Anfield, it’s so hard to describe how you feel as a player walking out there to them singing You’ll Never Walk Alone.

“To put on the performance that we did makes it a lot easier because they were outstanding so hopefully they can travel in their numbers to Kiev and make it a special place there.”

Klopp said recently that Henderson and his teammates could be ‘remembered in 500 years’ if they were to become the sixth team in Liverpool’s history to lift the European Cup.

And having a prominent place in the club’s glorious annals is a prospect that excites the captain.

“That’s what we are trying to do, create our own history,” he stated.

“We are a fantastic team with some great players [and] a world-class manager, so we want to create our history by winning trophies – and that’s what you get judged on at the end of the day, being successful.

“And then in 20 or 30 years’ time, hopefully people can look back on this team and say how good it was and how special it was what they achieved.”



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