Jordan Henderson recalls watching Jurgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund side as they headed towards the Champions League final in 2013 and thinking he would love to play the German’s style of football
Jurgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund side became everyone’s second favourite team in 2013 en route to the Champions League final.
The Germans had played Manchester City in the group stages before a late show saw off Malaga in the last eight.
But it was their semi-final win over Real Madrid that caught the attention after a 4-1 first-leg win.
They would lose in the Bernabeu, but progress on aggregate to the final.
Several Liverpool stars, then managed by Brendan Rodgers, were in the crowd for the second-leg and Jordan Henderson admits he was purring over the Bundesliga outfit.
Just over two years later and Klopp had been appointed at Anfield, which certainly pleased the Reds skipper.
He told the Daily Mail : “Beating Spurs in the final a year after the Real Madrid defeat was the best feeling in football I have had – and it was all down to Jurgen.
“Before he came, I remember watching Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League semi-final in 2013. We had gone to Madrid for a trip, as a group, to do something as Jamie Carragher was retiring.
“We had tickets for the Bernabeu and I remember watching Dortmund and thinking: ‘They are absolutely unreal.’ I remember Jurgen being on the sidelines, with all that energy.
“I looked at it and thought: ‘Yes please! This is how I want to play — all that pressing, the counter-pressing, the tempo.’
“I loved everything about it, so when I heard he was coming, I was so excited.”
Klopp has led Liverpool to domestic and European glory in his five full seasons at the helm.
His style has attracted plenty of plaudits, but it places huge demands on the players.
Henderson has become a crucial cog under the German and the image of the pair embracing after the 2019 Champions League final remains iconic.
The former Sunderland man has waxed lyrical about Klopp’s methods and his self belief.
Henderson added: “He always explained: you need to train for a good period to get used to me. I was like a sponge, listening to everything he said. He has taken me to another level all together.
“That night was everything. That moment, the two of us right there, was the best.
“Jurgen knew he could take us there, that’s what the journey was about. You talk about the players here and everything but he showed us the way and we followed him.
“Without him, we don’t win the Champions League. That hug was just a special moment. It was my way of saying thank you.”