LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 16, 2022: Liverpool's substitute Jordan Henderson on the bench before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jordan Henderson explains reason for Saudi move in farewell speech to squad

Jordan Henderson has reportedly talked through the reasoning behind his move to Saudi Arabia in a goodbye speech to his Liverpool teammates.

The midfielder ended his 12-year stay at the club to join his former teammate Steven Gerrard at Al-Ettifaq, sending a video message to supporters shortly before the official announcement.

Henderson leaves Liverpool having made a host of cherished memories with his teammates, many of which were recounted during a clip in which the squad thanked him for his contribution to the club.

The 33-year-old is said to have addressed those teammates shortly before his exit to the Middle East, offering an explanation for his choice to make the move at this time.

DONESCHINGEN, GERMANY - Monday, July 17, 2023: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson rides a bicyle to a training session during the club's pre-season training camp in Germany. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Athletic‘s James Pearce and Simon Hughes wrote that Henderson met with the squad on Monday to say his goodbyes at Manchester Airport, where they had returned from the Germany pre-season training camp.

When giving a speech to the players he has captained since taking over from his new manager in 2015, Henderson reportedly insisted that a key factor in his decision was his “desire not to hold the club back” in their quest for further success.

Henderson himself has been at the forefront of a golden era in Liverpool’s history, lifting every major trophy available to him as captain and achieving legendary status on the Kop.

His justification is unlikely to wash with many supporters, however, with the England international set to quadruple his salary by playing in the rapidly growing Saudi Pro League.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, April 9, 2023: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson leads his side out before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The decision to pick Saudi Arabia as the next destination in his career has come with understandable backlash given his vocal support for the LGBTQ+ community in recent years and the oppression those groups face in that country.

Former Reds defender Jamie Carragher is among those to insist that criticism of the move is valid, adding that Henderson has “difficult questions to answer” following the switch.

It is unquestionably one of the most significant sales in Liverpool’s recent history for a number of different reasons, but the former captain will leave a sizeable hole both on and off the pitch that will need to be filled from next season.