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Liverpool chairman Tom Werner on Jurgen Klopp, Jordan Henderson and transfer plans

Exclusive: Liverpool chairman Tom Werner speaks to Sky Sports News' Vinny O'Connor about his admiration for Jurgen Klopp, his congratulatory phone call to Jordan Henderson after winning the Premier League, and the club's transfer plans

As Liverpool's players celebrated the club's first league title in 30 years, their captain received a call from America.

On the line was chairman Tom Werner, ringing to thank Jordan Henderson for the leading role he played in their latest success.

"I called Jordan to express my appreciation," he told Sky Sports News reporter Vinny O'Connor. "As you know he has been with the club since 2011 when we were struggling to finish seventh or eighth.

Jordan Henderson was disappointed with Liverpool's return
Image: Jordan Henderson has been vital for Liverpool this season

"His leadership both on and off the pitch has been brilliant and his relentless focus is matched by his talent."

It could have been so different for Henderson. In 2012 he was told by Brendan Rodgers that he was willing to let him go to Fulham in a potential deal that would have seen Clint Dempsey move the other way.

How Henderson became Liverpool's leader
How Henderson became Liverpool's leader

Jordan Henderson has defied his doubters to become Liverpool's leader and a contender for the PFA Player of the Year award.

Eight years later he was the driving force behind Premier League footballers donating much-needed funds to NHS charities through the #PlayersTogether scheme, while on the pitch, after emulating Steven Gerrard last season by lifting the European Cup, he has now become the first Liverpool captain since Alan Hansen in 1990 to win the league.

Henderson took the captain's armband from Steven Gerrard
Image: Henderson took the captain's armband from Steven Gerrard

"To quote Jurgen, he (Jordan) had the most difficult job in the world becoming captain after Steven Gerrard, and that only increases my admiration for how he has gone about this," Werner said.

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In October, Fenway Sports Group will celebrate 10 years in charge of Liverpool. The same month will also mark five years since Jurgen Klopp's appointment.

The decision to replace Brendan Rodgers came after Liverpool failed to get anywhere near the standards they had set when they ran Manchester City so close in the 2014 Premier League title race.

Jurgen Klopp is unveiled as the new manager of Liverpool FC as he stands alongside Tom Werner (l) the chairman and Ian Ayre (r) the chief executive
Image: Jurgen Klopp is unveiled as the new manager of Liverpool as he stands alongside Werner (l) and Ian Ayre

Still, further disappointments were to come - Liverpool were beaten by City in the 2016 League Cup final and lost the Europa League final to Sevilla that same campaign.

Two years later they were again beaten finalists, this time in the Champions League, losing out to Real Madrid, while the following season would see the biggest heartbreak, so close to Premier League success with a club-record 97 points, but one short of Manchester City's winning total.

Their response has been a trophy rush, becoming European champions for a sixth time, European Super Cup winners, World Club champions and now, finally, they have secured the title that has been the most coveted for so long - champions of England.

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Klopp joins Sky Sports News from Anfield to discuss, among other things, his dance moves, winning the Premier League and the fans who want him to sign a lifetime contract

"As FSG, we are proud to have helped move the club forward," Werner added. "As we said 10 years ago, we hoped to under-promise, over-deliver and win trophies for our supporters. But it is Jurgen, the team and the staff who deserve our gratitude for such exceptional play.

"I could never have dreamed that we would win the league with seven games to go, leading Manchester City by more than 20 points!"

It is the magnitude of that achievement that prompted some Liverpool fans to ask for their manager to be handed a lifetime contract. He only signed a new deal back in December.

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Sky Sports News looks back on how Klopp transformed Liverpool into Premier League champions

"I have texted Jurgen and Michael (Edwards) and while these conversations are private, the gist of them is that I am forever grateful for this historic run," he said.

"I am also appreciative that Jurgen will be with the club until at least 2024. That's quite a long time in football!"

Nearly a decade ago, when FSG won their legal battle for control at Liverpool, principal owner John W. Henry promised: "We're here to win, we will do whatever is necessary".

That commitment does not end with the Premier League title and with rivals strengthening - like Chelsea and their capture of Timo Werner - Liverpool are looking at what they need to do to stay ahead of the rest.

Van Dijk celebrates lifting the Champions League trophy after victory in the 2019 final against Tottenham
Image: Liverpool won the Champions League after victory in the 2019 final against Tottenham

Werner added: "Regarding the transfer window, the only thing I would say is that we will continue to assess the transfer market, which at the moment is unclear, made even more so by the effect the virus will have not just on English football but football around the world."

What is clear, however, is just how much it means, personally, to be chairman of the new Premier League champions.

"When the whistle blew at the end of the Chelsea match, my first thought was to thank the supporters who have waited 30 years for this celebration," Werner said.

Image: Werner with Liverpool principal owner John W. Henry

"Even though none of us could be at Anfield, it doesn't diminish the magnificent achievement of this team. After coming so close to winning the league last year, I could only pay tribute to the consistency and relentlessness and focus and hunger that defined Liverpool this year.

"Because of the virus, I was alone watching the match on Cape Cod. I could only text John (W. Henry) and Mike and Michael Edwards and Jurgen, but in 20 years when we look back on this accomplishment, no one will remember where we were.

"As Jurgen said, this team created its own story and history and didn't try to do what our wonderful dads and grandfathers did with Liverpool."

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