Jordan Henderson has fired a warning to Real Madrid that his Liverpool side is not the same team they were back in the 2018 Champions League final.
Jurgen Klopp’s side was bested that time around, with a Gareth Bale worldie and a nightmare showing from Reds goalkeeper Loris Karius handing Real a 3-1 victory. Still, they have the chance to exact some revenge when the two sides meet in this year’s showpiece on Saturday.
While the physical makeup of the squad has not varied much since that day, Henderson told The Guardian that Liverpool’s mentality had turned them into a different animal.
“I would say they are facing a different Liverpool,” he said. “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.”
Henderson could become the second Liverpool captain to lift two European Cups, following in the footsteps of Emlyn Hughes, but the current skipper was keen to keep the praise on his teammates instead.
“You say Emlyn Hughes is the only Liverpool captain to win it twice.
“I’m sure he would have said it was the Liverpool team who won it twice, not him.
“That’s the way I look at it. If we do manage to win it twice, it’s because of the team. It’s because of the manager, it’s because of the staff and everybody involved.
“When the time comes for me to look back on it, I’ll think about it. I never really see it as ‘me’.
“Yes, I wear the armband on a matchday, and I’ve been here a long time, but there are so many other leaders within the dressing room, so many big players, and it is a collective effort.
“It’s not about me trying to match other amazing captains that Liverpool has had, or trying to beat records.
“I am fortunate enough to be in a world-class team and very proud to be able to wear the armband and lead the team out.
“We will give it everything and hopefully bring another Champions League back to Anfield.”
Finally, Henderson was full of praise for the entire squad for coping with the level of expectation that they have invited on themselves over the past few years.
“I try [to enjoy the journey].
“It is difficult with all the pressure and all the games, but I’ve got to give so much credit to the lads for how they deal with it, for the mentality, the focus in every single game every three days. It’s incredible.
“We’ve got one last big push in a Champions League final, and we’ve got to give it absolutely everything. Hopefully, we can bring the trophy back to Anfield. It will be a pretty good season if that’s the case. The lads and the fans deserve it no matter what.”
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