'Jordan Henderson could easily have not been at Liverpool this season'
Back in 2012, Liverpool wanted to swap Jordan Henderson for Fulham's Clint Dempsey.
On Saturday night, at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid, Henderson raised Liverpool's sixth European Cup in the storied history of the Merseyside club.
Henderson captained Liverpool in last season's Champions League final and was on the losing side. Thanks to goals from Mo Salah and Divock Origi, and great performances by Virgil Van Dijk and Alisson Becker, it was Henderson that lifted European football's most prestigious trophy.
Following the game, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp took time out of his press briefing to praise Henderson and the motivational, indefatigable James Milner for all their efforts on and off the pitch.
On The Football Spin, Dion Fanning and Paddy McKenna discussed Henderson, what he brings to Europe's champion side and how close he came from not being at the club for their finest moment since 2005.
In the summer of 2012 Liverpool, back in the early days of the Fenway Sports Group, were looking to get USA forward Clint Dempsey to Anfield. FSG refused to sanction the £7m purchase and told Brendan Rodgers that he would need to arrange a trade.
Rodgers was willing to let the midfielder go to Craven Cottage, and told his midfielder that, but he dug his heels in. That was a year after Sunderland had sold him to the Reds for £16m.
Henderson told Rodgers that he wanted to 'stay and fight'. That he did, and he has been fighting ever since. Fanning commented:
"Jordan Henderson could easily have not been at Liverpool this season. He had just got back into the Liverpool team [after the Southampton win].
"I wouldn't sell him but with Jordan Henderson there has been no guarantee. He wasn't playing for a lot of the season and then when he came back in, and then he scored then goal against Southampton and got a shot in the arm, and Liverpool got a shot in the arm from him playing in that more advanced role.
"But you could see a Liverpool midfield again, that may not contain him, if Alex Oxlade Chamberlain is fit, if Naby Keita is fit and comes through the way the anticipated he would this season. But he is a player that has great values and brings about that sense of honesty."
Fanning remarked that, looking at Arsenal capitulate in the Europa League final, you wondered what the club would give for players of Henderson and Milner's heart and endeavour.
Henderson turns 29 in the next fortnight but taking on more attacking responsibilities, with Fabinho holding the fort, certainly seems to have given him a new lease of life. Winning trophies helps too.
There's a lot more on Liverpool's victory on this special The Football Spin here.