How important is Jordan Henderson to Liverpool?

A from a flop to top story is arguably the best fit to describe the current Liverpool skipper, Jordan Henderson ’s time at Liverpool, since he signed for the Reds from Sunderland for a rumored £20 million a, in 2011. Being highly unimpressive in his debut season at Mersey side, he was in line to leave the club, with the then new manager Brendan Rodgers at the helm. However, the move broke down and he was back in contention for a spot in the team. Originally signed as an attacking player, he never really took off and consequently Rodgers reassigned him to a more holding role in the center of the field. Here is his epic roller coaster career at Liverpool with a view to the future.

Even though he struggled initially, he adapted to the new deeper role and started redefining himself as a matter of fact. In the 2013/14 season, which turned out to be Liverpool’s best season since the 2008/09 season, was the turning point for Henderson’s career too, where the fans saw the transformation of this player to a pivotal member of the team. Although most headlines were captured by the stellar Luis Suarez, Henderson deserves a fair share of credit too. He, in fact was an unsung hero that season as he was the perfect holding midfielder and showed it with his abilities in being the spine of the team. Rodgers also said that once Henderson got the red card in the crucial fixture that season against Manchester City, he was almost certain that winning the league would be a very difficult task.

Fast forwarding to 2015, he is still seen as an important member of the team, but unfortunately doesn’t get full credit for his role in the team. With the new manager Jürgen Klopp’s fast paced game, Henderson has had to adapt to a more box to box role, making more frequent runs while going forward than he used to. He has done well in the slightly modified role but killing opposition attacks still remains his strong suit with a good interception rate and number of duels won (ground and aerial). Stats say, he has played 15 games so far this season, and made 867 passes with a passing accuracy of 78.9% which is pretty good for a central midfielder. As a matter of fact Klopp is transforming the team as a whole and has already shown a bit of success in two different formations. However in both, Henderson still remains an integral part and is always there when a teammate commits an error or the opposition is charging on the pitch for an all-out attack. He has become the engine of the team without which the team can’t perform normally. Despite having a form slump of late, he returned with a strong performance against Manchester United midweek. It can be said that considering the alternatives for his role in Liverpool who are less suited to the role than he is, he looks better because he is the only one and stats don’t help his cause a lot. But what should also be noted is that stats are just numbers and he makes his presence known in the team by charging into spaces from where he can avert a danger or create a chance. Along with 3 assists and 2 goals so far this season, he has also demonstrated his leadership skills and has proved to be a good captain to the revamping Liverpool side. It can be clearly seen that he will be a vital player in Klopp’s team and maybe one day will lead the club to its former glory, at leas that’s what most Liverpool fans will be hoping for sure. The former Black Cats player may not be the typical Klopp midfielder, yet he is a man with fire under his belly and that is what often matters the most in the end.

His story conveys one important thing: Relentless commitment and hard work can harvest success even in the most adverse conditions. This is about a man who rose from the fringes of the team to be the captain of a decorated football club. And yet, he remains one of the most underrated players in the Premier League.

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