Premier League • England

Real reason Henderson is leaving Liverpool revealed, with Klopp showdown cited after captain ‘says his goodbyes’

Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson

There may be more to Jordan Henderson leaving Liverpool for Al Ettifaq than just money, with a report suggesting showdown talks with Jurgen Klopp played a part.

Liverpool are in the process of rebuilding a midfield that was unquestionably their biggest weakness last season. A raft of first-team stars have left including Arthur Melo, Leighton Clarkson, Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and James Milner.

The Reds have responded by signing Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai. Per multiple sources, personal terms have been agreed with a third midfielder who favours joining Liverpool over Arsenal and Chelsea.

However, potentially a fourth midfield arrival may be required if Jordan Henderson and Fabinho complete moves to Al Ettifaq and Al Ittihad respectively.

Regarding Henderson, Steven Gerrard’s Al Ettifaq have struck an agreement worth £12m prior to add-ons to sign the 33-year-old.

Per the Daily Mail, the deal will be through a ‘structured timeline of payment’, rather than Liverpool receiving the full fee up front.

In any case, Henderson has agreed a three-year deal worth an eye-watering £700,000-a-week. The England international passed a medical on Friday and the Daily Mail state he’s now ‘said his goodbyes’ to those at Anfield.

Henderson is in line for a colossal pay rise while in the autumn of his career. However, per the Mail, there’s more than meets the eye with regards to why Henderson is leaving.

Indeed, the outlet state Henderson is set to leave Anfield after talks with Jurgen Klopp.

Henderson’s role would’ve greatly reduced

The subject of the discussions reportedly centred around how much playing time he’d receive next year, along with his future role within the team. Henderson is described as speaking ‘at length’ with Klopp on the matter.

Henderson primarily operated in one of the two box-to-box midfield roles either side of Fabinho. However, those are the exact positions Mac Allister and Szoboszlai have been signed to fill.

What’s more, Henderson lost his place as a regular starter in the second half of last season and that was before Szoboszlai and Mac Allister arrived. As such, it stands to reason his minutes would’ve been in even shorter supply next term.

Another spanner in the works is the fact Trent Alexander-Arnold has been fielded in midfield at times during pre-season.

Alexander-Arnold was deployed as a hybrid right-back-central midfielder late last season, though lined up in midfield from the off in the 4-4 draw with Greuther Furth on Monday. Rising youngster Conor Bradley took the right-back berth.

Clearly, Henderson’s importance to Liverpool from a playing perspective has diminished and that, as much as the money, is why he’s greenlit a move to Saudi Arabia.

READ MORE: Klopp in dreamland as midfielder chooses Liverpool over Arsenal, Chelsea; agreement reached