Sports

January 19, 2024

Klopp tells critics not to ‘judge’ Henderson over Saudi move

Klopp tells critics not to ‘judge’ Henderson over Saudi move

Jurgen Klopp said Jordan Henderson’s critics should not dare to judge the former Liverpool midfielder after he ended his controversial spell in Saudi Arabia by joining Ajax.

Just six months after quitting Liverpool, Henderson left Saudi Arabian club Al-Ettifaq on Thursday in a surprise switch to Dutch side Ajax.

Henderson’s lucrative move to a country where same-sex relationships are illegal was heavily criticised in Britain, where he had previously been a high-profile supporter of LGBTQ+ rights.

Responding to a fresh wave of criticism of Henderson after he called time on his Saudi stay, Liverpool boss Klopp said the 33-year-old did not deserve to have his personal choices questioned.

“People are really critical of Hendo about the move, first there and now coming back,” Klopp told reporters on Friday.

“I don’t know how we dare, always judging these kind of things. We have one life and we have to make decisions and sometimes our decisions are perfect in the first case and sometimes it is different after you made them.

“He was there and it was 100 per cent an interesting experience and I spoke to him and 99 per cent of football things there were absolutely fine.”

Henderson captained Liverpool to Champions League glory in 2019 and lifted the club’s first Premier League title for 30 years the following season.

And, while Ajax are struggling in the Dutch league at present, Klopp believes the move to Amsterdam will help revitalise Henderson after a difficult period.

“There are many things to develop in the future but (he was) never really critical or saying: ‘It’s not possible that that’s not there’, but then he thought it is better for him and the family to come back to Europe and now he is at Ajax Amsterdam, a sensational club in a difficult moment,” he said.

“I’m happy for him as it looks like he is happy and that is the most important thing to me.

“He is going to Holland where he can enjoy his football definitely again. The family will feel wonderful because the city is absolutely outstanding.

“I will definitely talk to him in these few days but he has a few things to do which are more important.”