Pre-match team meeting helped inspire Liverpool success – Henderson

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson felt a team meeting in the days before their Champions League final victory helped ensure the players were ready for what lay ahead.

With the disappointment of losing to Real Madrid 12 months ago compounded by being pipped by a point to a first Premier League title since 1990 by Manchester City, the England international was leaving nothing to chance.

He gathered the squad on Wednesday and they talked through the eventualities and shared previous good and bad experiences.

Jordan Henderson, centre, and Liverpool in training
Jordan Henderson, centre, and Liverpool in training (Peter Byrne/PA)

It meant they were prepared for what came late in the game at the Wanda Metropolitano when Tottenham put them under pressure.

“I think we would have regretted it if we didn’t have it with the experiences we’d had,” he said of the meeting.

“I thought it was important to speak as a group before a final, it was an important conversation as a group.

“A few of us said a few things and hopefully it helped.

Henderson, left, celebrates with Mohamed Salah after the opening goal
Henderson, left, celebrates with Mohamed Salah after the opening goal (Mike Egerton/PA)

“Just about the game really. What we could experience in the game and how we could deal with those different situations and obviously use the experiences we have had.

“We’ve come a long way as a team and to have so many knock-backs and to finally get over the line is an amazing feeling, so special, and one we will remember forever.

“It was nice to know we have come back from so many disappointments and finally won a big trophy.

“Hopefully we can use this to win more in the future, it gives us confidence to know we can win the Champions League and together we can move forward and hopefully win more trophies as well.”

He had a flashback on the morning of the final when a friend sent him a picture.

It was of Henderson, as a youngster, kissing a trophy. Just over 12 hours later he was doing it again, only on a much bigger stage.

“My dream as a kid was to win trophies,” he added.

“My best friend sent me a picture in the morning of me kissing a trophy when I was about 10, so that gave me even more motivation.

Jordan Henderson kisses the Champions League trophy
Jordan Henderson kisses the Champions League trophy (Peter Byrne/PA)

“The trophy was gold and it was quite big and I’m kissing it. I’m about 10, 11. That gave me a lot of motivation.

“When the final whistle goes it’s an amazing feeling to know we have done it, and then to lift the trophy was a special feeling, one that we will never forget.”

Henderson joined the ranks of Emlyn Hughes, Graeme Souness and Steven Gerrard in lifting the European Cup for the club.

But at the moment he insists has not thought how significant it is to have matched those greats.

“Probably it will be after I finish football, but there is still a long way to go,” he added.

“I am 28, I want to achieve a lot, keep improving as a player, I want the team to keep improving, I want to win more, that is all my focus is on now.

“That’s the idea, we hope this can give us a lot of confidence. The big trophies, the big nights.

“I want to enjoy this moment but also when we come back pre-season we will be focused on looking in the future.”

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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