Jordan Henderson reveals which Liverpool teammate he’d choose to take a penalty to save his life
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has revealed that James Milner would be his teammate of choice if he had to pick one player take a penalty to save his life.
Milner, 36, has scored 30 penalties during his career and was Liverpool’s designated spot-kick taker before Mohamed Salah took up the mantle following his arrival at the club.
In the 2016/17 Premier League season — Milner’s most prolific during his career — he famously netted a division-high seven penalties, tucking home from 12 yards more than the likes of Harry Kane, Jermain Defoe (both five) and Sergio Aguero (four) that campaign.
In fact, Milner’s last Premier League goal from the spot came in the 2019/20 season, owing largely to his restricted role in Jurgen Klopp’s team, but also because of the emergence of Salah, who has scored the third-most penalties of any player since moving to Anfield in 2017 (18) — only Luka Milivojevic (20) and Jamie Vardy (21) have netted more in that time.
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Of course, it’s not just Salah and Milner among the reliable penalty-takers who have lined up alongside Henderson, with Kane also featuring with the Liverpool skipper at international level for England. The Tottenham marksman is the nation’s all-time leading goalscorer from the spot (12 goals).
Despite this, Henderson has selected Milner as his life-saving penalty-taker when the hypothetical question was put forward to him by Joe Cole in BT Sport’s The Joe Cole Cast.
“Milly,” Henderson replied when asked by Cole, to which the former Liverpool winger replied: “The main man. Definitely, he’d look after you.”
Milner is certainly considered the elder statesman in Liverpool’s squad, but Henderson has cultivated his own reputation as the ever-reliable club captain, almost becoming the totemic player of Jurgen Klopp’s reign.
His relationship with the German has not only blossomed since he pitched up from Borussia Dortmund in 2015 but flourished, and the ex-Sunderland man also spoke to Cole about the emotions he felt when the Liverpool boss first arrived at the club.
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Henderson said: “I was excited for him coming in. I’d watched Dortmund quite a lot and I loved Dortmund, the way they played, their energy.
“They didn’t have superstars yet in that team, he made them superstars in the end, but like Gundogan, Reus and players like that, the way they played, I watched them in the Bernabeu in a Champions League semi-final and they were incredible.
“When I heard he’s coming, I’m excited because I knew the type of football and I felt that suited the way I played, the energy, the press, the intense football. I loved all that. I was excited in one part, but in another part I was disappointed because I was injured and I couldn’t get straight into it.”
Who is the best penalty-taker right now in the EPL?
If we go back to when Salah first joined Liverpool in 2017/18, exactly 20 players have scored over five penalties in the Premier League during that time. Of the active players still in the division, only two have a 100% conversion rate: Raul Jimenez (taken seven, scored seven) and Ivan Toney (taken six, scored six).
Salah’s conversion rate comes in at 90%, making him the ‘third-best penalty taker’ in the division since he arrived at Anfield. On the other side of the spectrum, Chelsea new boy Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has a measly 69% conversion rate — the lowest by those parameters — taking 13 penalties, scoring nine and missing four.