Jordan Henderson has opened up on a difficult period during his time at Liverpool when he admitted he was “in a very dark place” .
The Reds’ captain has been central to the club’s success in recent seasons under manager Jurgen Klopp, skippering his side to domestic, European and world glory.
But it wasn’t always certain that Henderson would be a hit on Merseyside, and he came very close to leaving for Fulham in 2012.
“It was an opportunity I didn’t want and I didn’t like,” Henderson told The Guardian . “I still felt I had an awful lot to give.
“But I was in a very dark place at that time.”
Henderson lifted the lid on his troublesome spell under former boss Brendan Rodgers, who was prepared to sell him on in exchange for Fulham’s American forward Clint Dempsey.
Slowly Henderson won over his manager, but his rise to become one of the Premier League’s top midfielders has been an even more gradual process.
There was plenty of scepticism over whether Henderson would make the grade at Anfield – not helped by dismissive comments by ex-Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson, or constant comparisons with Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard.
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It’s been an extremely interesting start to the season for Jurgen Klopp’s men.
They got their title defence off to a shaky start as they edged out a seven-goal thriller against Leeds, before going on to conceded seven in a hammering by Aston Villa.
Virgil van Dijk’s season was ended by injury in the 2-2 draw at Everton, leaving the title favourites looking far less secure at the back – especially with Alisson’s injury worries too.
But there’s no slowing down in what is going to be a busy campaign – with Klopp ensuring his men continue at full pace as they bid for more title glory.
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And around the time of Henderson’s rough patch, his mother Liz revealed her concerns for her son to then Reds captain Gerrard, who was quick to put her mind at rest.
“She was worried for her boy,” Gerrard said. “He was a little lost. The move was initially too big for him.”
Despite Henderson’s struggles to deal with the pressures of his £20million move from Sunderland, Gerrard was convinced Liverpool had signed a player capable of filling his shoes when he eventually moved on.
“I know he’ll be fine,” Gerrard told her, before insisting his belief that Henderson would be a crucial part of the Liverpool team in the years to come.
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Gerrard eventually passed on the armband to Henderson when he departed for LA Galaxy in 2015, and the pair have remained good friends since.
Asked whether he had the same confidence in his own abilities as Gerrard had in him, Henderson replied: “I don’t think you ever know what’s going to happen.
“When I first signed I was very young and I knew it was going to be tough.
“But I always wanted to test myself and I knew, by going to Liverpool, I would become better.
“But it took a little time.”