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Jordan Henderson hails Champions League qualification as ‘big achievement’ for Liverpool

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has spoken about the importance of qualifying for next season’s Champions League, describing it as a “big achievement”.

The skipper’s last match of 2016/17 was the 2-0 win at home to Tottenham back in February, with injuries once again hampering him thereafter.

He had to watch from the sidelines as Liverpool almost blew their top-four chances, only for them to end the season with an impressive string of results.

The Reds’ eventual fourth-placed finish ensured they will be in the Champions League for only the second time since 2009/10, and Henderson can only find positives in that.

“To do that is a big achievement,” Henderson told Liverpoolfc.com.

“Everybody was over the moon that we got in the top four. Now we’ve got to go and win the play-off to actually get into the group stages of the Champions League.

“Of course we’d have liked to win something as well but you’ve got to take one step at a time and that is a big achievement.

“Since I’ve been here, we’ve only been in the Champions League once. It’s a good step in the right direction for us and it’ll help us develop as a squad.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, January 25, 2017: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson in action against Southampton during the Football League Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The 26-year-old went on to talk about the development within the team, with the impact of Jurgen Klopp important in Liverpool achieving their goal of Champions League qualification.

“We’re getting better and we’re improving in all aspects of the game,” he added.

“We’re becoming more mature as a team and improving on the training pitch—listening to what the gaffer has got to say on how we can improve as a team and individuals.

“Everybody has taken that on board throughout the season and everybody has been working really hard. And you get your just rewards at the end of the season, with getting the top four.”

Henderson’s presence at the heart of Liverpool’s midfield was vital in the early months of the season, when Klopp’s side looked like genuine title contenders.

Injury to him and other key players really hurt the team, however, and in the end, they had to crawl over the finish line.

Klopp will hope he has his captain available more often next season, with Henderson’s fitness issues really starting to become a worry.

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