Xabi Alonso on Henderson, Klopp and ‘special’ United clash

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Fernando Torres of Liverpool celebrates with Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso after scoring his second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Liverpool at Goodison Park on September 27, 2008 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images) * Local Caption * Fernando Torres;Steven Gerrard;Xabi Alonso
All rights reserved by Alex Livesey/Getty Images Europe

Former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso has spoken on a number of topics having to do with his former club, mainly the recent form of club captain Jordan Henderson, the impact of manager Jürgen Klopp and Liverpool’s upcoming match against rivals Manchester United.

The Bayern Munich midfielder spent five years at Anfield, making 210 appearances and lifting two trophies in the UEFA Champions League and the FA Cup. He left the club for Real Madrid in 2009 and although his departure left a hole in Liverpool’s squad that many argue is still yet to be filled, there have been midfield players who have managed to make a positive impact.

One of those players, who has caught the eye of Alonso, has been Jordan Henderson. The Reds captain has had a bitter-sweet career ever since he switched Tyneside for Merseyside in 2011 but this season has seen him experience one of his best runs in a Liverpool shirt, in a period which has seen him play in a role much similar to the one Alonso played for the club.

The Spaniard has noticed the progress Henderson has made and has piled plenty of praise on the Englishman, labeling him a complete player.

“Jordan has so much energy, he plays well and he’s very complete,” Alonso said, according to Liverpool’s official website.

“Not just as a holding midfielder, he’s able to get closer to the box. He’s becoming a very important player.

“It’s not just the performances on the pitch, from the outside it looks like he has taken the leading role in the changing room.

“After Stevie [Gerrard], he got the captain’s armband and he wanted to try to continue what they did, and he’s managing it so far. With Klopp and Lucas [Leiva] as well, he’s doing well.”

Key to Henderson settling in the Liverpool team after an injury-plagued season has been the expertise of Jürgen Klopp. The German’s impact obviously extends far beyond his captain’s career and Alonso, a man who is no stranger to working under world class managers, has expressed his belief that Klopp is the perfect fit for a club he still regards very highly.

“Not just the few games this season but last year, not just in terms of football but socially. He was a big boost for the club and the city – that such a prestigious manager wanted to manage Liverpool,” he continued.

“That gave the people a lot of pride, recognising how special the club is. He has embraced the culture of Liverpool, the tradition but also the hunger to deliver and do something important.

“They are playing very well. They are finding how they want to play and they are so enjoyable to watch. They are playing great games and they have beaten Arsenal and Chelsea in London.”

The Reds are looking to add Manchester United to their list of scalps as they will be facing their rivals on Monday night. Alonso lined up for the Reds against United seven times during his spell at Liverpool and confirmed he will be watching the match – along with millions worldwide – at Anfield.

“I look out for most of the games but this one especially because of how big it is, the build-up and what it means for both clubs to be successful after 90 minutes, to be the winners.” he said.

“It’s so important for both teams. It’s still early days in the season but it can be a very, very important game.

The World Cup-winner added, “These kinds of games, anyone can win. Maybe Liverpool are in a better position and maybe favourites, but it doesn’t matter.

“United still have great players and a good team. This game is so important for them because they don’t want the gap to be bigger. It’s going to be a good one to watch.”

Indeed, it’s going to be one monumental evening at Anfield and there’s plenty of hope from all sides that under the floodlights the Liverpool faithful – not to mention the chosen eleven – can make it a night to remember and if they can, a man still considered a Red great in Alonso will surely be pleased.

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I am a young, enthusiastic writer and aspiring football journalist. I am extremely passionate about Christ, life, love and Liverpool Football Club. I am introverted at times but am always excited to meet people who can have a good impact on my life - so get in touch!

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