Liverpool selfishly ruin Henderson dream with Chelsea demand as Gerrard’s club ‘floundering’

Matt Stead
Jordan Henderson is consoled by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp
Jordan Henderson is consoled by Jurgen Klopp after the 2022 Champions League final

Liverpool could scupper Jordan Henderson’s dream move to Saudi Arabia by demanding actual compensation for the unexpected loss of their influential captain.

After signing Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai for a combined initial £95m this summer, Liverpool had understandably felt that their long-awaited midfield rebuild had been completed.

But interest from Saudi Arabia in both Fabinho and captain Henderson has thrown their pre-season plans into flux, with both players thought to be tempted by the move.

Liverpool are expecting to receive a formal offer of £40m from Saudi champions Al-Ittihad for Fabinho, while Henderson has had his head turned by Steven Gerrard’s Al-Ettifaq.

The Liverpool captain has been widely reported to have agreed terms of a £700,000-a-week contract to move to the Middle East, but the Reds are selfishly not letting him leave for nothing.

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Despite putting together a package worth £36.4m a year to entice Henderson, Al-Ettifaq are struggling to come up with a fee to meet Liverpool’s demands.

The Saudi club had, according to James Pearce of The Athletic, ‘hoped that Liverpool would either grant Henderson a free transfer or agree to a fee in the region of £10m,’ but ‘that’s simply not the case’.

Jurgen Klopp does not wish to lose his captain but could contemplate a sale if they receive a bid of around £20m.

That figure is based on the fee Chelsea received from Al-Hilal for Kalidou Koulibaly, with the Reds using that ‘as a reference point for talks’.

Such a valuation has left Al-Ettifaq ‘floundering in trying to meet that mark,’ in the words of the Daily Mail’s Dominic King, while Chris Bascombe of the Daily Telegraph adds that ‘Henderson could find himself in an awkward situation’ if it turns out that Gerrard’s side are pursuing Henderson on ‘a misplaced belief that he can be bought with a lowball transfer offer’.

And it really does feel as though either Henderson or Gerrard should have done their due diligence before the latter torched his reputation by verbally agreeing a deal. Daft sods.

‘Liverpool will not shift their stance and allow their captain to go on the cheap,’ Bascombe continues.

Both Henderson and Fabinho are expected to be named in Liverpool’s squad for a pre-season training camp in Germany, with the club operating as normal until and unless any official offers are actually received.

While they had not planned to make any further additions in midfield, the sale of one or both Henderson and Fabinho would inevitably force their hand and potentially reignite interest in Southampton’s Romeo Lavia, who Pearce says is ‘admired’ at Anfield but deemed to have an ‘excessive’ asking price at £50m.

That factor is likely to preclude a move for Moises Caicedo of Brighton, even though it has been claimed that Liverpool would now consider rivalling Chelsea for the £100m signing.