Swapping shirts with arguably the greatest player of all time is a natural inclination after sharing a pitch with him. For most, maybe; not for Jordan Henderson.
In the build-up to the Champions League final this weekend, the 28-year-old looked back on Liverpool's season of ups and downs in Europe with the Daily Mail. Having had their dreams of another Champions League final smashed at the Nou Camp, largely due to another dose of sheer Messi magic, the Liverpool captain opted not to swap shirts with the Barcelona captain.
But not for reasons of disappointment because of the beating he had just inflicted on them.
As it turns out, Roy Keane has something do with it.
Roy Keane told me when I was at Sunderland that if you ask for someone’s shirt, it looks like you are in awe of them.
As it turned out, I came home with Luis Suarez’s shirt. Luis is a good lad and he gave me it as a gesture as we had played together for Liverpool. I don’t know what he’s done with mine.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t hurt before this match. I felt sick not to be named in the starting line-up but, as hard as it is, you cannot put yourself first.
When you are the captain of Liverpool in a European semi-final, the team is the priority and always will be.
As it turned out, I came on quite early as Naby Keita got injured. It was the first time I had been on a pitch with Lionel Messi.
The tie seemed done and dusted, but the Merseysiders produced another euphoric night in front of their fans at Anfield to blow the Catalans away and seal a spot this Saturday in Madrid's final.
But the second leg wasn't exactly plain-sailing from Henderson's perspective either.
— Jordan Henderson (@JHenderson) May 9, 2019
After sustaining an injury during the first half, the midfielder's evening was in danger of being cut short. Thankfully for him, he remained on the pitch to make a impact on another intoxicating night in front of the Kop.
There was no way I was going to come off that night. I hurt a tendon in my knee in a tackle but I knew if I could manage the pain and reach half-time, I’d be OK.
I had injections and painkillers and jumped on the spinning bike for 10 minutes to stop my knee seizing up.
What happened afterwards will stay with me forever. It was a completely different experience to Roma the previous year, where we got to the final by hanging on.
Henderson has been in and out of Jurgen Klopp's first-team plans this season, but after resurrecting himself in a number-eight role, rather than a number-six, Henderson is now playing some of the best football of his career.
From where we stand now, three days out from the Champions League final, the captain seems likely to start - probably beside Fabinho and Georginio Wijnaldum.
Naby Keita, it has been confirmed, will miss Saturday's final, having failed to recover from injury in times, but the rest of Jurgen Klopp's midfield options are apparently available for selection - including James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Adam Lallana.
LIVE @ChampionsLeague final training! 🔴 https://t.co/Xnr1ppIcy7
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) May 28, 2019
Meanwhile, Roberto Firmino looks set to play a role in Saturday's game after recovering from the injury that saw him miss the last few games of the season.
In his absence, Divock Origi excelled, even scoring the winning goal against Barcelona to book Liverpool's spot in the final. That Firmino is capable of playing a deeper role may benefit Origi and, in turn, see one of the club's midfielders on a starting berth.
That, however, remains unlikely for now. Either way, the Liverpool manager is currently boasting a very strong deck.