Football News

Jordan Henderson hailed as Liverpool’s underappreciated ‘game-changer’

By Ben Green

Published: 19:03, 15 April 2019

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has lavished praise on club captain Jordan Henderson, suggesting his exploits go under the radar.

The 28-year-old has been strutting his stuff in more advanced positions across recent outings, with a goal and two assists in his previous two matches as the Reds look to clinch a first ever Premier League title this season.

Is Henderson underrated? Five key things to know…

  1. Despite captaining his side to a Champions League final last summer, Henderson is often criticised.
  2. Sir Alex Ferguson famously revealed his awkward gait prevented Man United from signing him…
  3. …and former boss Brendan Rodgers once tried to swap him for Clint Dempsey.
  4. Jurgen Klopp recently explained how he has been playing Henderson out of position, in a more defensive role, for 18 months.
  5. And following some recent impressive displays, Carragher has insisted that the England midfielder simply “doesn’t get enough credit”.

Henderson’s scintillating cross bore fruit on Sunday as Sadio Mane broke the deadlock in the club’s comprehensive 2-0 win over Chelsea at Anfield.

Three points for the Merseysiders has repositioned Jurgen Klopp’s side back at the summit of the Premier League table, with the club looking to end their 29-year wait for a top-flight trophy.

Integral to that recent form has been Henderson, who is currently enjoying something of a midfield renaissance with Klopp deploying his skipper in a more advanced role in the middle of the park.

The tactical tweak has proven a masterstroke from the German tactician, but Carragher believes that such changes have only been made possible because of the versatility and mental strength of Henderson.

Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: “It’s not a case of Jurgen Klopp bowing to his captain and saying wherever you want to play I’ll put you there.

“Henderson was on the bench at Southampton and he was given his opportunity and took his opportunity and changed the game.

“He’s always had great energy and I think his ability with what we saw for the goal today – in the inside right channel – he can put a great cross in. He doesn’t get enough credit at times for his quality.

“That is a wonderful cross in front of the Kop. You have to get the sand wedge to get it to the back post. Without Jordan Henderson’s quality in the box, it’s still 0-0.”

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Liverpool banish demons

During the match, there was one notable moment that drew an ironic sense of relief among the Anfield faithful: Andy Robertson’s second half slip.

The tumble evoked unwanted memories of Steven Gerrard’s infamous slip in 2013/14, which went a long way to costing Liverpool the title that year, and it came in a game against Chelsea at a similar stage of the season.

The Gerrard slip has since engraved itself into football folklore, but Klopp believes the club have now banished those demons after prevailing against the Blues on Sunday – and doing so with a slip of their own.

He said: “It’s done now. If anyone wants to sing about the slip then they should swallow it.

“We can now we can slip without anything serious happening.”