Liverpool rolled out the red carpet for AC Milan and Denmark captain Simon Kjaer ahead of his visit to Anfield on Wednesday night.
The defender helped save Christian Eriksen’s life when the Danish playmaker collapsed in a clash with Finland at Euro 2020.
Kjaer has been praised for his achievements and recently received the UEFA President’s Award, along with the medical staff, for his outstanding leadership.
Now the 32-year-old travels to Anfield in a Champions League group stage clash – and looks set to receive a hero’s welcome.
Reds manager Jurgen Klopp and captain Jordan Henderson have already put the game aside to congratulate their opponent.
“I generally prefer to focus on my own players rather than an opponent, but tonight I have to make an exception,” explained Klopp.
“Tonight it’s possible that Simon Kjaer will line up against us and he’s a person who I think has the respect of everyone in football and sport.
“You recognize real leadership in times of crisis. I think the world recognizes it more than ever with everything that is going on around us.
“Like millions of others, I was shaken by the scenes which unfolded at the European Championship this summer when Christian Eriksen fell ill in the Danish group’s opener.
“There were many heroes that night, including the remarkable Danish national team health professionals, in the stadium and then in the hospital. But Simon shone on that traumatic day for his own conduct.
Meanwhile, Henderson echoed those sentiments on Twitter.
Referring to his program notes, the England midfielder said: “I would like to welcome @ simonkjaer1989 from @acmilan to Anfield tonight. He set new standards of leadership at Euro 2020 when Christian Eriksen fell ill.
“I can’t even begin to imagine what this experience was like for the Danish players and I am extremely relieved that Christian continues to recover, but as captain I couldn’t help but be impressed by the way Simon behaved and led his team.
“I saw that @UEFA awarded Simon and the Danish medical team the President’s Award, and it is both appropriate 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.”
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