Jurgen Klopp has reacted to Jordan Henderson’s big-money move to Al Ettifaq as the England international decided to leave Liverpool after more than a decade on Merseyside

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Premier League transfer round-up: Henderson completes Saudi move

Jurgen Klopp has admitted he was taken back by Jordan Henderson’s decision to leave Liverpool and join Steven Gerrard’s Al Ettifaq this summer.

Henderson, 33, completed his lucrative £700,000 per-week move to the Saudi Pro League on Thursday after his successful 12-year stint at Anfield came to an end. Liverpool have received £13million for Henderson, who has signed a three-year contract in the Middle-East.

When asked about Henderson’s departure, Klopp admitted his surprise to see the ex-Sunderland star leave Liverpool and move to Saudi Arabia. Henderson featured in all but three Premier League matches for the Reds last season and was an integral part of the side throughout.

Klopp said: “Was I surprised when Henderson said he wanted to move on? Of course. We had a relationship for eight years. He knew the situation that we wanted to keep him but if he wanted to leave we weren’t going to throw rocks and stones in the way. It was about reacting to it.”

Liverpool have overseen a major revamp of their midfield so far this summer, with Henderson following Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and James Milner out of the exit door. Arthur also returned to Juventus at the end of his season-long loan spell, while Fabinho is edging closer to joining Saudi side Al-Ittihad.

Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai have already arrived in two big-money signings from Brighton and RB Leipzig, and Klopp is now ready to add more. Southampton’s Romeo Lavia has been heavily linked with a move, while Ryan Gravenberch had also been linked.

As for Henderson, his move has received backlash from the LGBTQ+ community, a group the midfielder had previously supported throughout the last couple of years. The Englishman spoke out in defence of them and their rights, but will now work in a country where homosexuality is punishable by life imprisonment, deportation, flogging, beatings, torture and the death penalty.

Henderson smiles during Al Ettifaq transfer reveal Henderson smiles during Al Ettifaq transfer reveal (



Ex-Premier League star Thomas Hitzlsperger hit out at the former Red on social media earlier this week: “So Jordan Henderson finally gets his move to Saudi. Fair play to him, he can play wherever he wants to play. Curious to know though how the new brand JH will look like. The old one is dead! I did believe for a while that his support for the LGBTQ community would be genuine. Silly me…”

The midfielder, who joined from Sunderland in 2011, captained the side to Premier League and Champions League success to cement himself in the club’s history books. He was adored by the Anfield faithful and, as a result, the LFC Supporters Board has made their feelings known regarding his unpopular decision.

A statement read: “Jordan Henderson was a true captain and true leader for LFC on and off the pitch. We know he did much to promote inclusion on and off the pitch. He stood out as a principled footballer. We are therefore very disappointed and disheartened by his decision and the hurt and division it has created.

“The very essence of the LFC supporters board is to be inclusive and ensure all LFC fans, whatever their faith, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability can attend and enjoy football. That’s what we want for fans, that’s what we want for football.”