“It wasn’t something we wanted.”
Jordan Henderson has spoken out against the European Super League again but came to the defence of Liverpool’s owners, while criticising Leeds for their pre-match actions last month.
Few could have anticipated the extent of the fan backlash to the six Premier League clubs’ proposal to join a breakaway European Super League but Liverpool’s captain, Henderson, took a leading role in voicing his disapproval of the concept.
The proposals were announced late on Sunday, April 18, and Liverpool played less than 24 hours later, when the Reds received an unceremonious welcome to Elland Road.
Jordan Henderson on Leeds’ T-shirts
Leeds’ players wore T-shirts which were emblazoned with the words “Earn it” while the away dressing room had the same T-shirts laid out as a clear message to Liverpool.
“The T-shirts, I felt, were disrespectful,” Henderson told The New York Times.
“The players hadn’t done anything. It wasn’t something we wanted.”
While the relationships between the six Premier League clubs involved and their respective fanbases suffered considerable damage after the short-lived proposals, Henderson was quick to defend Liverpool’s owners.
Henderson reminded fans of the positive work achieved by the Fenway Sports Group since they took over at Anfield in 2010.
“If you look at it, they’ve done a good job,” Henderson said of FSG. “They’ve grown the club. They’ve put money in. They’ve built a new training ground. They brought the manager in.”
Henderson has been praised for reaching out to his fellow Premier League captains in their WhatsApp group to discuss the consensus anger regarding the Super League.
— Jordan Henderson (@JHenderson) April 20, 2021
Henderson explained why he had immediate concerns about the European Super League idea, while also admitting doubts about the new Champions League format.
“I was worried it would tarnish it. We have all built to this point, and I didn’t want a divide. Teams not being relegated isn’t right. You have to earn your right to be in the Champions League,” Henderson said.
“The Super League wasn’t right but the new Champions League isn’t right, either. There has been no consideration for player welfare.
“I know it is hard to hear players moaning when people are working nine-to-five, but we are giving everything when we play. You are exhausted when you come off after a game, and then you have no time to recover. It’s unacceptable. It’s screaming for injury.”