James Milner and Naby Keita left Liverpool when their contracts expired. Jordan Henderson was expected to be an experienced player, providing leadership as he has in the past, but also closing games from the midway point.
However, he wanted to be a regular and start games on a consistent basis, and accepted the offer from the Saudis due to the high salary as well as the presence of manager Steven Gerrard.
Although this was an unexpected release for Liverpool, they subsequently acquired Japan midfielder Wataru Endo and Netherlands U-21 midfielder Ryan Gravenberch.
The English midfielder was ridiculed by some as being lured by a salary that was a significant increase from his time at Liverpool, but current Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers, who once played with him at Anfield, expressed understanding of his decision and said it was each player’s life.
“It’s their profession, it’s their life so they have to do what’s best for them,”
“There’s so many morality officers around the world nowadays that are judging people.”
“But Jordan I know extremely well and I know the love he had for Liverpool. He was at the stage of his career where he probably wasn’t going to be the first name on the team sheet anymore. At 33 years of age, he’s won absolutely everything.”
“He probably fancied a different challenge and out of respect, it probably didn’t feel right for him being at another Premier League club. So to go abroad and take on a new challenge clearly suited him.”talkSPORT