Jordan Henderson explains decision to leave Liverpool for Saudi Arabia

Jordan Henderson‘s decision to swap Liverpool for Saudi Arabia was met with widespread scrutiny and he has now explained the key reasons for his “exciting” change.

The Reds banked £12 million by letting their captain leave the club and Henderson himself has been compensated kindly for joining Al Ettifaq.

The move was unexpected but it was seen as a win-win for all parties, though, there has, rightly, been scrutiny directed Henderson’s way for a decision he has now looked to explain.

Henderson has linked back up with Steven Gerrard for his first season in charge in the Saudi Pro League, and while that was a “big reason” for making the move, the 33-year-old had other motivations too.

“It’s exciting times, the project and something different is definitely a reason why I wanted to come here,” the former Reds skipper explained this week.

“Over the next few years, I’m sure it’ll grow and I want to be part of that.

“I love football so I want to try and go all over the world and I know the people in Saudi love football.

“Hopefully, we can keep continuing to grow the league over the next few years and I can be a big part of that.

“Stevie was a big reason why I came, to work with him and play under him.”

The Saudi Pro League has made quick and targeted strikes in their bid to grow their league.

This summer alone they have signed the likes of Roberto Firmino, N’Golo Kante, Karim Benzema, Ruben Neves, Riyad Mahrez and most recently Sadio Mane.

It is a sportwashing project that Henderson has voiced his desire to help grow and play a big part in developing.

“It’s just a totally different project [and] experience, which is one of the reasons why I wanted to come, try something completely different to what I’ve been used to for the last however many years,” Henderson reiterated.

“It’s exciting and [I’m] just happy to be here.”

His explanation omits the key factor he reportedly told his former Liverpool team-mates in his farewell speech of not “wanting to hold the club back,” but the two are certainly not mutually exclusive.