Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp confirmed on Friday that captain Jordan Henderson’s season was over due to a knee injury but said he would still lift the Premier League trophy.
The England international was forced off 10 minutes from the end of Wednesday’s 3-1 win over Brighton following a collision with Yves Bissouma and a scan has revealed a knee problem that will keep him out of the club’s remaining four matches.
But Klopp is confident it will not impact on next season — and will not stop him standing on the podium at the club’s final home match against Chelsea later this month to celebrate ending 30 years without the English top-flight title.
“Hendo is the best possible of all bad news — it is a knee injury but no surgery needed but he will not play any more in the latter stages of this season but I am pretty positive he will start with us the new season,” said Klopp.
Premier League champions Liverpool, who host Burnley on Saturday, are on course for a record points tally.
They have 92 points, eight short of Manchester City’s record of 100 points from two seasons ago.
Klopp, speaking at his pre-match press conference, said the skipper would still be the man to lift the Premier League trophy.
“It was an awful moment when he went down with injury,” he said “You saw he knew something happened which shouldn’t have happened. It was a real mood-killer.”
Klopp described Henderson as a “quick healer”, saying: “He deserves to lift the trophy and he will lift the trophy.”
The midfielder tweeted: “My rehabilitation will start immediately and I’ll be working hard to be back to full fitness in just a matter of weeks in order to be fully ready for the start of the new season.
“Of course it’s not the way I’d have preferred to have finished the season on a personal level but it’s been an incredible campaign.”
– Record-chasers –
Liverpool, who are unbeaten in 57 home league matches, are aiming to become the first team in the top-flight since Sunderland in 1891/92 to win all their home league games in a season.
Mohamed Salah, with 19 league goals, is looking for a third successive Golden Boot, sitting three behind current Premier League leader Jamie Vardy.
“Mo now, of course, come on. The numbers are absolutely crazy,” said Klopp. “Involved in (more than) 100 goals (goals and assists) since he is here… it’s just outstanding. World-class numbers. Nobody should be surprised any more.”
Salah scored twice against Brighton and for his first it appeared Roberto Firmino passed up the chance to shoot to allow his team-mate to come in behind him.
However, Klopp dismissed suggestions the players were collaborating to get Salah’s tally up.
“I hope they were not. When I saw the situation, it was just that Bobby’s football intelligence told him he was not in the best position and that Mo was in a much better position,” said the Reds boss.
“I don’t think he left the ball because he wants Mo to win the Golden Boot. You cannot have this mindset.
“We all help each other. We have another contender with Sadio (Mane). He has 16 goals.
“They all want to score goals. Bobby wants to score. They want to be decisive, to decide football games. That’s the mindset a striker needs.”