97 points. A points total only bettered twice in Premier League history other than by Liverpool themselves when the Reds recorded 99 points en route to winning the title in 2019/20.
That 2018/19 season points total has only ever been bettered by Man City – the season before it and that season.
Likewise, last season’s 92 points would have won 25 of the previous Premier League campaigns. This year, it’s unlikely any team will get close to such a tally. Arsenal‘s invincibles recorded fewer (90), while Man United‘s treble-winning side of 1999 recorded 79 points – yes, really.
92 points would have won the title in every season in Premier League history up to 2005.
It would be natural, then, for supporters to ponder what might have been had this Jurgen Klopp era occurred at a different time in recent history.
We put it to Jordan Henderson that he would have lifted more than just the one league title and one European Cup if this were the nineties or noughties.
“Maybe,” he ponders with a little pause. “But would that have been as good?”
We use the analogy of Andy Murray, born in an era when tennis has Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Murray would’ve dominated his sport in the ’90s and ’00s too.
But, after living through near-misses in 2014, 2019, and again in 2022, plus the Champions League final defeat of 2018, Henderson has an admirable take on it.
“I think part of winning is the struggle before,” he says. “You have to go through failure, you have to go through bad moments, through adversity to get to where you want to be.
“I think that goes with everything in life. So without that, I’m not sure it would feel the same, actually.”
Henderson tells us how, if he could re-live any match he’s played in but watch from the stands, it would be the 2019 Champions League final, given that “everything that we’ve been through as a team, to get to that point and then watch the team lift the trophy, I think would be incredible.”
That win in Madrid was achieved 12 months after the defeat in Kyiv, just as the league title was won 12 months after missing out on the title by a single point with the third-highest points total in English football history.
So would he trade the adversity and the rollercoaster for nineties-style domination of English football?
“I’m pretty sure the lads, or a lot of the lads, would say the same because of everything that we’d been through before that as a team,” he insists. “I’d never want to change that so let’s not even go there.”
The highs, lows and doubts
After 11 years at Anfield, not many footballers have experienced so many highs and lows as Hendo has.
From almost being sold to Fulham then almost winning the title under Brendan Rodgers, losing in five cup finals, to lifting more different trophies than any other human to have captained Liverpool Football Club.
So did he ever doubt it would happen for him at Liverpool?
“I think there will have been definitely,” he admits. “In them moments, that stuff like that happened, when we lose a title or a final.
“And certainly, there’ll be moments I’ll be overthinking and thinking a lot about different things, like ‘why can’t we end up getting over the line, just in one’?, ‘when are we going to get the opportunity again?’, ‘will we ever be able to get back?’
“But when you have a little bit of time to reflect and think about things and go away, I think that then gives you even more fire to want to get back there again and put it right.
“That is what has kept us going as a team, those disappointments actually give you a bit of angriness and unfairness that you want to put things right again and you want to go one step further.
“That’s been a huge factor in the way that we’ve ended up being successful in a period of time.”
There’s wisdom in the words of the 32-year-old, who has captained Liverpool more times than only five men in history.
Inspiration and understanding
Henderson is a person who understands what it means to play for Liverpool as a football club, its city, its people and its history. He knows the responsibility that comes with.
“I think that’s part of the fabric of playing for Liverpool, the history,” he says.
“I can remember the manager speaking about it when he first came in and how that could be a burden, how successful the club was years ago.
“But, actually, it should be an inspiration and sort of flipped it and tried to use it in a different way. I think that really did help us and the mentality.
“I think it’s ingrained in the football club and respected, and gaining inspiration from the players that played here before, the trophies they won, what they did as a team – definitely.
“I just hope that in years to come it will always be the case. I’ve been so fortunate to play with amazing players, incredible managers as well and that’s really helped me in my journey.”
Another thing Klopp has often spoken of is this group of players writing new chapters in the extremely storied history of Liverpool Football Club.
And no matter the naysayers, Jordan Henderson has certainly done that.
* Jordan’s autobiography is available now. Click here to order your copy.