Gerrard’s millionaire Ettifaq stars watched by fewer fans than non-league games

Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson's Al-Ettifaq suffered a humiliating 1-0 defeat to Al-Riyadh in front of a meagre crowd of just 696 spectators.

In a shocking comparison, more fans (702) turned up for an eighth-tier English football match between Clitheroe and Newcastle Town. Even more supporters were present at other lower league games, highlighting the poor attendance at Al-Ettifaq's match.

Playing for Al-Ettifaq is a whole new ball game for Jordan Henderson, who's used to the roar of over 50,000 fans at Anfield when he played for Liverpool last season. Even at away games, the smallest crowd he'd have faced in the Premier League was Bournemouth's 10,536.

READ MORE: Jesse Lingard won't join Saudi club because his 'wage demands are too big'

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Other big names in the Al-Ettifaq squad are also adjusting, including ex-Everton winger Demarai Gray and former Liverpool and PSG midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum. They were both in the starting line-up against Al-Riyadh, along with Sweden's Robin Quaison and Scotland's Jack Hendry.

Moussa Dembele, another experienced forward, is part of the club but didn't play over the weekend. Jesse Lingard has been training with Al-Ettifaq recently, but they can't sign the 30 year old due to rules about foreign players.

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The Dammam-based team would need to let go of two non-Saudi players by January to make room for him. Adding to this, Lingard's wage demands are more than what Al-Ettifaq are willing to pay, making it less likely that the former Manchester United star will join the club.

Despite this, Lingard did play for Al-Ettifaq in a friendly earlier this month, scoring a goal just four minutes in. Gerrard, the former Liverpool star, expressed his disappointment as Al-Ettifaq's winless streak extended to three games. "We didn't show what was required of us," he said.

"We weren't at the level we'd hope to be at. The opposition's plan was clear to frustrate and wait for the opportunities. The mistakes cost us today, we gifted three points to Al-Riyadh."

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