Jordan Henderson has opened up on the difficulties he faced during his first few seasons at Liverpool.

The midfielder headed to Anfield from Sunderland in 2011 though struggled in his first season despite being a regular.

Brendan Rodgers, who was Reds manager at the time, wanted to use Henderson in a swap deal for Fulham ace Clint Dempsey.

Henderson turned the move down, though has admitted it was a tough time for him given Rodgers’ view.

“That was a difficult moment I remember very clearly,” Henderson told the Guardian.

“We were preparing for a [Europa League qualifying] game against Hearts at Anfield. We met as normal in the hotel and I got a knock on my door saying the manager wanted to speak to us.

Jordan Henderson has become one of the first names on the Liverpool team-sheet
Jordan Henderson has become one of the first names on the Liverpool team-sheet

“To be fair to Brendan Rodgers, it was really just a conversation. It was an opportunity I didn’t want and I didn’t like. I still felt I had an awful lot to give, but I was in a very dark place at that time.”

Henderson has gone from strength to strength at Anfield and lifted the Premier League trophy as captain last season.

The England star thanked current boss Jurgen Klopp for the development, adding: “When the manager first came, it was difficult for me because I was injured. I kept getting niggles so it took a while to get the real me and my rhythm back.

Jordan Henderson struggled under Brendan Rodgers in his early days at Liverpool
Jordan Henderson struggled under Brendan Rodgers in his early days at Liverpool

“And then I began to play in a deeper role and that is thanks to Jurgen, because I don’t think many people would have seen how I could do that role.

“There were times when I wasn’t performing well. Then you would question if I was good enough.

“But I had confidence in the manager and kept working and I matured. I’m really grateful for having that opportunity because my all-round game has improved defensively and offensively.

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“When we signed Fabinho, a natural defensive midfield player, I felt that was a good thing for me because I could play a little higher up.

“So when I had the conversation with the manager he was very open. But I don’t think he was going to play us there straight away.

“At the end of last year, I played more as a No.8, but with certain injuries I’ve had this season I’ve played a little deeper again. I feel I can contribute to both positions.”