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The three key meetings that helped Liverpool win the Champions League

Jordan Henderson has revealed three meetings integral to Liverpool’s Champions League triumph, from Barcelona at Anfield to Spurs in Madrid.

The Reds are aiming to reach a third successive final this season, and are defending the European Cup after a 2-0 victory over Spurs in the final in June.

On their way to Madrid they overturned a 3-0 deficit to seal a 4-3 aggregate win over Barca, with this widely considered one of the best nights at Anfield—if not the best.

Henderson lifted the trophy at the Wanda Metropolitano as captain, but he credited Jurgen Klopp for inspiring the Reds to beat the odds and progress at the expense of Barca in the semi-finals.

“He’s really passionate in his team meetings. Really, really, really passionate. I think obviously transcends into us as players,” he told Jamie Carragher’s The Greatest Game podcast.

“Before the Barca game I remember him saying if this was any other team that he’d managed, he’d probably say ‘no chance’, sort of play for pride and play to win the game.

“He said ‘but because it’s you, and I know what you players are capable of, then there’s a chance of creating something special’.

“After that I just felt ‘wow’. I think everybody felt like that.

“The confidence that he had in us to then go out there and perform and be able to then turn the deficit over gave us confidence really.

“Everybody was raring to go after that, wanting to give everything on the night, and that was obviously a perfect performance after that.”

MADRID, SPAIN - Friday, May 31, 2019: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during a training session ahead of the UEFA Champions League Final match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. (Pic by Handout/UEFA)

That was one of a number of meetings held between players and manager on the road to Madrid, and once the two participants were set following Spurs’ late win over Ajax, Klopp made another intervention.

Carragher questioned whether there were any nerves given the occasion of an all-English final, with the media pressure ensuring the loser would be haunted for years to come.

“Another thing about the gaffer if he’s really good at addressing situations like that,” Henderson continued.

“So if he thinks that the players might be thinking ‘well, shit, it’s Spurs…English team’, he wouldn’t just leave that, he would addressed it with us as a team.

“He’d say ‘well, why would you think that?’. It would have been the same [situation] if it was Ajax.”

Henderson added that, therefore, their aims were purely on performing their duties to the highest standard, rather than worrying about the significance of the tie.

“Don’t get me wrong I was thinking after the game we’ve got internationals, and I was thinking I cannot walk into that [England camp] with Spurs winning,” he said.

“But ultimately, you can only do what you need to do, and Ajax, Spurs or whoever it may have been, I always feel as though if we do what we’re good at, and we perform to the level that I know we’re capable of, we can beat anybody.

“So it’s irrelevant about anyone else, it’s only focused on us being ready, us being prepared in the best way we possibly can which will work, performing on the night at the best way we possibly can.

“And if we do that we can win the game, and that’s all we were focusing on.”

MADRID, SPAIN - SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2019: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson lifts the trophy after the UEFA Champions League Final match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. Liverpool won 2-0 tp win their sixth European Cup. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The events of the final were strange, with Mohamed Salah scoring from the spot after just two minutes and Divock Origi sealing the result with three to play—those goals sandwiching a largely dull affair.

There were clear contributing factors, including the summer heat and a long break between the last Premier League game and the final, but for Liverpool, the challenge of maintaining the early lead was not an issue.

“Leading up to that week we’d actually had a team meeting, as players, and we actually spoke about if we went in front,” Henderson added.

“Because there’d been times in the past when we’d went in front and we didn’t really cope with it as best we could.

“We maybe didn’t keep going and we’re like ‘OK we’re 1-0 now’, we’d retreat a little bit and defend and other teams were getting half-chances and things like that.

“So we decided to speak about it as a team, we said ‘if we do go into the lead, we need to make sure we keep going, we keep focused on what we’re trying to do’.

“And then we got into the game and in the first minute we got a penalty and we’re winning and all of a sudden we’re defending as a proper team.”

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