Jurgen Klopp insisted that in Jordan Henderson’s “ears and mind” he was not wanted at Liverpool but there is “not a bit of bad blood” between the pair.
Henderson left the Reds in the summer transfer window to join Saudi Arabian side Al-Ettifaq, who are currently managed by Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard.
Henderson said: “If one of those people said to me, ‘Now we want you to stay’, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation. And I have to then think about what’s next for me in my career.
“Now, that’s not to say that they forced me out of the club or they were saying they wanted me to leave but at no point did I feel wanted by the club or anyone to stay.”
And Liverpool boss Klopp confirmed that Henderson was telling “the truth” but that he told the England international that he “wanted him to stay”.
Klopp said in a pre-match press conference: “I didn’t read interview at first, then read it so I can make my own opinion, Hendo said the truth. That’s how it was. We had talks, I told him I wanted him to stay but we talked about maybe not playing regularly.
“I cannot tell a player they can have 50 games because I don’t know that. In our relationship, I thought it was important we speak about ‘what happens if’. Hendo, I love him but he was not great when they didn’t play, Milner and Lucas were the same. So we talk about that now.
“So in Hendo’s ears and mind, he thought I didn’t want him there. If I said Hendo would be the main man for me he would stay but I couldn’t. That’s why it’s better he moved on. Not a bit of bad blood. Captain of best LFC team in PL era.”
Liverpool signed a number of players to transform their midfield over the summer and Klopp insists he wants the Redss to “become a new team and not the replica of the old”.
Klopp added: “I really liked the Aston Villa game. Days after the window closed and everyone says ‘ah they should have [signed more]’ that we had this game. It’s not that we’ve built a team now, we are in that process.
“Winning with 10 helps create the spirit and mentality if we use it. It’s still early days, I’m happy with the basis we can work on. I really, really love this team, it’s early days.
“Let’s go for it and we will see, we changed a few things, brought in new players. This is not year eight because in October I’m here eight years, this is year one and I am fully in. We brought in some guys to give interesting insight into our lives. We want to become a new team and not the replica of the old.”