download All Football App

Klopp & Henderson praise Kjaer ahead of Liverpool's clash with AC Milan

  /  autty

Jurgen Klopp has praised Simon Kjaer for his 'leadership in crisis' which helped save the life of Denmark team-mate Christian Eriksen earlier this summer.

Eriksen collapsed early in a Euro 2020 game against Finland back in June, with the AC Milan star quickly on the scene to prevent the midfielder's airways from becoming obstructed as well as immediately calling for medical services.

Kjaer could now feature at Anfield for Milan's opening Champions League game against Liverpool on Wednesday and the Reds boss was keen to use programme notes to extend his praise to the 32-year-old's heroic actions.

'I am usually more keen to focus on my own players rather than an opponent, but tonight I must make an exception,' Klopp explained.

'This evening it is possible that Simon Kjaer will line up against us and this is a person who I think has the respect of the entire football and sporting world.

'You recognise true leadership in a crisis. I think the world acknowledges this now more than ever with everything that goes on around us.

'Like millions of others, I was rocked by the scenes that unfolded at the European Championship in the summer when Christian Eriksen fell ill during Denmark's opening group game.

'There were many heroes that night, not least of all the remarkable medical professionals for the Danish national team, in the stadium and subsequently at the hospital. But Simon shone that traumatic day for his own conduct.'

Kjaer's actions were crucial as Eriksen was later rushed to hospital following cardiac arrest where he then awoke after being put in a stabilised condition.

The defender and the medical team were awarded the UEFA president's award for their role in saving Eriksen's life - an accolade founded in 1998 that recognises outstanding achievements, professional excellence and exemplary personal qualities in football.

Klopp also praised Kjaer's team-mates for their compassion and humanity in shielding the traumatic event as best as they could by huddling around Eriksen.

'The image of the Danish players shielding their teammate as he was cared for will, in my opinion, forever be one of the most iconic in sporting history,' Klopp continued.

'It showed the best of humanity. Compassion, care and love for their friend.

'Honestly, I have no idea how [Kjaer] managed to not only keep his own composure in that situation, but to have the clarity of mind to make the decisions he did in that moment. His conduct humbles us all.

'I'm told that Simon's dad is an LFC fan – and if that is the case he must be bursting with pride that his boy is now recognised worldwide as the epitome of our anthem You'll Never Walk Alone.'

Reds captain Jordan Henderson also shared his manager's sentiments in welcoming Kjaer to Anfield, admitting he was left impressed with how the Dane conducted himself during the ordeal.

'I'd like to welcome AC Milan's Simon Kjaer to Anfield this evening. He set new standards of leadership during Euro 2020 when Christian Eriksen fell ill.

'I can't even begin to imagine what that experience was like for the Denmark players and I'm hugely relieved that Christian continues to make a recovery, but as a captain I couldn't help but be impressed by the way Simon conducted himself and led his team.

'I have seen that UEFA have given Simon and the Denmark medical team the 'President's Award' and that is both fitting and deserved. But I hope Simon also knows that he has the respect and admiration of everyone in football for what he did that night.'