Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has admitted to taking a page out of Roy Keane’s playbook when the Reds travelled to Barcelona in the Champions League last season.
Henderson’s team were on the end of a Camp Nou trouncing, a Luis Suarez strike splitting a Lionel Messi double – his second a stunning free-kick – to send Barca, seemingly, on their way to Madrid.
Famously, it would not play out that way after an inspired Anfield comeback, but Henderson and his teammates wouldn’t know that at the time. Looking back on the defeat, the captain admits to being in awe of Messi.
“You don’t think to yourself ‘Oh my God – that’s him,’ but there’s no question he plays the game differently to when you see him on TV. He’s so fast,” Henderson told The Mirror.
“Thinking about his free kick now, I still can’t believe he scored it. I actually thought he was going to take it short.
“I’ve told you how good I think Alisson is, but Messi put that shot in the one area Ali couldn’t protect. The whip, the pace, the precision – it was absolutely perfect.”
He might have been awestruck by Messi’s antics, but Henderson admits that a lesson learned from his former Sunderland manager Keane prevented him from showing that after the match.
When asked if he would have swapped shirts with the Argentine, Henderson said: “Did I think about asking for his shirt? No. I’ve never done it.
“Roy Keane told me when I was at Sunderland that if you ask for someone’s shirt, it looks like you are in awe of them.
“As it turned out, I came home with Luis Suarez’s shirt.
“Luis is a good lad and he gave me it as a gesture as we had played together for Liverpool. I don’t know what he’s done with mine!”
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