Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has criticised Leeds United after their players wore “Champions League: Earn It” t-shirts against Jurgen Klopp’s side last month.
Henderson and Liverpool’s squad were left the t-shirts on their lockers at Elland Road last month. The ill feeling that had been created by the proposed European Super League was there for all to see. Liverpool were one of the six Premier League teams who signed up to the controversial plans before withdrawing soon after after a public outcry.
A day after the doomed announcement Leeds players took the field for their warm-up wearing the shirts, which had the slogan: “Champions League: Earn it” on the front. On the reverse a second slogan read: “Football is for the fans”.
The message was clear; Champions League qualification had to be earned on the pitch rather than in negotiations for a closed-shop competition.
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp, speaking to Sky Sports ahead of the game, was not impressed of the reminder from Leeds: “If somebody thinks they have to remind us that you need to earn a place in the Champions League, that’s a joke it’s a real joke and it makes me angry.”
And Henderson, who was against the idea of a European Super League, also admits the Leeds players annoyed him by wearing the t-shirts.
In an interview with the New York Times, Henderson said: “The t-shirts, I felt, were disrespectful. The players hadn’t done anything. It wasn’t something we wanted.”
Henderson, called an emergency meeting of the Premier League captains to discuss the Super League plans. He was against the plans and say he was very concerned FSG’s input would be “tarnished”.
Champions League not right
“If you look at it, they’ve done a good job. They’ve grown the club and they’ve put money in. They’ve built a new training ground. They brought the manager in,” said Henderson when asked about FSG.
On the Super League plans, Henderson added: “I was worried it would tarnish it. We have all built to this point, and I didn’t want a divide.
“The Super League wasn’t right,” he said. “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.”