Jordan Henderson has recently been under massive scrutiny for the performances he has been putting. The fact that he has taken over from Steven Gerrard as Liverpool’s captain makes things even more difficult for him as fans have constantly been comparing the dynamism of the two.
While Liverpool have been boosted by the return of Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho and Divock Origi, one of the glaring problem that has come to the forefront recently is the lack of creativity in the midfield. Jordan Henderson must certainly take some of the blame.
The former Sunderland player was instilled as Liverpool’s vice captain last season and had to take over the armband from a figure like Steven Gerrard and it hasn’t been a smooth transition for the player. While he started the season well, a heel injury kept him out for a chunk of time. Upon his return, it was noted that the injury issue could never be permanently solved. Henderson has said that he can get used to playing with the pain but if that’s the case, the problem definitely is serious and would hinder his game.
There is absolutely no doubt that the Liverpool captain has improved massively since signing for the club back in 2011. He was initially written off as an overpriced British recruit but really came of age in the club’s title challenging season of 2013/14.
However Henderson’s performances have to definitely improve for him to become an indispensible part of Klopp’s future plans at the Merseyside club.
Since Liverpool didn’t invest in the winter transfer window, it is safe to assume that the German boss was interested in taking this season as a trial period to see who all he wants to keep long-term and who he will be offloading in the summer.
Marko Grujic was bought and immediately loaned back to his former club but his addition means Klopp has another midfielder who will be competing directly with Jordan Henderson for a place in the starting eleven.
Emre Can is expected to play a major role for Klopp in the coming season and be part of the long-term project. While the German’s performances have also dipped recently and he too is partly responsible for the club’s dire lack of creativity in the second third of the pitch, considering his age and potential which has been on display many times, the player will be an important player for the Reds in the coming years.
Liverpool have also been linked with other midfielders including Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Granit Xhaka. Xhaka is a robust presence in the midfield who can operate effectively as a “ball-winner”. He has been likened to Xabi Alonso and Bundesliga experts feel the comparison is justified. Liverpool have missed someone like Alonso ever since the Spaniard departed for Real Madrid. Steven Gerrard played that role for the Reds in 2013/14 but was a makeshift deep lying playmaker. The addition of Xhaka could boost Liverpool but it would severely question Henderson’s future at the club as not only the captain, but also a player.
Henderson must take the rest of the season as a challenge will he absolutely has to ace. The England international has to improve performances and make a point to Klopp that he is good enough to be an integral part of the Reds in the coming year. While no one really thought he could replace Gerrard’s persona at the club or even in the team, for Henderson to remain a first-team player under Klopp next season, he must improve his performances.