Selling Jordan Henderson this summer would be a mistake for Liverpool


Jordan Henderson has been linked with a move away from Liverpool this summer, but the skipper remains an important player and shouldn’t be sold.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, March 10, 2016: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson in action against Manchester United during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 1st Leg match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Recent reports, most notably from Jonathan Northcroft of the Sunday Times, suggest Henderson may be one of those under threat of being axed by Jurgen Klopp at the end of the season.

With top class reinforcements badly needed in midfield, and Emre Can becoming increasingly influential, it is perhaps only natural that the Reds captain is under pressure.

Hampered by his ongoing heel problem, his performances this season have often been forgettable, and he doesn’t appear to be completely comfortable in his role as skipper.

Having won over a large section of supporters with his performances in 2013/14 and 2014/15, Henderson is now in danger of losing admirers, such is the fickle nature of the modern football fan.

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While some of the criticism coming the 25-year-old’s way has substance, parting company with him in the summer would be a move that makes little sense.

Underrated presence

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 13, 2015: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson celebrates scoring the first goal against West Bromwich Albion during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by James Maloney/Propaganda)

While Henderson has not found top gear this season – his ongoing heel problem is likely to be a big reason for this – being overly critical of him is short-termism at its finest.

Since arriving from Sunderland in the summer of 2011, Liverpool have won 50 per cent of their games with Henderson involved. Compare that to without him, and the figure is a rather insipid 31 per cent.

This season in the Premier League, which as discussed, Henderson has been below-par in, the Reds have registered three points in 60 per cent of games the captain has featured in.

What is hugely telling is that without him, they have won only won 21.4 per cent. His presence is enormously understated.

The 2013/14 season was understandably dominated by the genius of Luis Suarez, goals of Daniel Sturridge and playmaking brilliance of Steven Gerrard, but Henderson’s all-action style was also pivotal.

Liverpool won a whopping 68 per cent of matches with him in the side, while when he was out, the figure was less than half of that (33%).

Many will always point to Gerrard’s infamous slip against Chelsea as the moment the Reds’ title charge came to an abrupt halt that season, but Henderson’s sending off against Man City a few weeks earlier was equally fatal.

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The sending off may not have affected the result on the day, but his dynamism was a huge loss for the final three games of the campaign. Liverpool lacked something without him, as has almost always been case.

Henderson is not the most aesthetically-pleasing footballer to watch, in terms of style, and unfortunately it works against him.

He may not possess a cultured left foot, a silky running style or the obvious all-round influence of someone like Gerrard in his prime, but he has been one of the most important players at the club for three years now.

Since the beginning of 2013/14, no English player has registered more assists (19) in the league, which throws any argument about him being ‘poor on the ball’ completely out of the window.

Henderson is very much a player you only truly value when he is not in the team, and last Sunday’s second-half capitulation at Southampton was crying out for him.

While he will obviously never reach the incredible heights of former leaders such as Gerrard and Graeme Souness, he still possesses real authority.

Despite this, Liverpool are at a stage where they need to go up a gear in terms of personnel, which is where Henderson may suffer.

Future Role

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, November 29, 2015: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson in action against Swansea City during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Perhaps the issue with Henderson is that, despite all his undeniable qualities, he does have limitations and many see his current role as being above his ability. Perhaps him being club captain doesn’t help him either, as he’s not quite the type to go dragging the Reds back into a game.

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A future role where Henderson isn’t captain, and isn’t a guaranteed starter, would sit more comfortably with Reds.

If Liverpool want to return to the top of the English game, they cannot be relying on Henderson being a starter week in, week out. He lacks the guile and ability to shine at the very top, sometimes looking one-dimensional, and because of that, more of a squad role would be appropriate in the coming seasons.

Can, in comparison, looks like he genuinely could mature into a world-class midfielder in time, and his performances this season have highlighted Henderson’s limitations.

Players such as Ilkay Gundogan and Granit Xhaka are being linked with summer moves to Merseyside, and these are the calibre of players needed if Liverpool are to challenge consistently under Klopp.

Henderson is his own worst enemy in a lot of ways, in that he can’t quite nail down a specific midfield role in the team.

His phenomenal work-rate, underrated use of the ball and reading of play are all effective, but he can neither star as a playmaker or a guaranteed goalscorer from the middle of the park.

This makes him more dispensable to Klopp, who has enough attack-minded players at his disposal, and potential deep-lying playmakers coming in. Marko Grujic has also already been acquired, of course.

The future

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, April 13, 2015: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson applauds the supporters after the Premier League match against Newcastle United at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

You only have to look at the above statistics to see how important Henderson has been to Liverpool during nearly five years at the club.

He has grown in stature since his dark early days at Anfield, and when he is not in the side, the Reds lack something.

Getting rid of him in the summer would undoubtedly be a mistake, unless his injury problems are more serious than we think, and he should remain an important squad player going forward.

Once new players are brought in, it may be that Henderson’s chances in the first-team become a little more limited, and there is no shame in that. There is a feeling that he may not remain captain for too much longer, however.

The fear with selling him, especially to Tottenham, is that he could really thrive and get back to the level of the two previous seasons; relieved of the pressure and spotlight of being Liverpool captain.

Remaining at Anfield, he can play a similar role to that of a player such as Darren Fletcher during his Man United days; thriving in a number of matches but not always a guaranteed starter. He’d still play 40 games a season.

Liverpool supporters have been too critical of the 25-year-old’s displays this season, and while they have not hit the heights of the last two years, he has still been a mature presence on the whole.

When has he actually been a weak-link?

Henderson will always be an easy target, not a fashionable player, but so much of what he does goes unnoticed, both on and off the ball.

The Reds can improve on him, but that does not make him someone who needs to be sold.

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    1. Well thanks for this. The 31% over his entire career is even more telling.

      It’s funny in a way that we love to forget his rabona’s, panna’s and key passes for some reason. If Firmino had done the same things his shirts would’ve sold double. He does add a variety of passing range and we rarely lose a midfield battle when he plays.

      Reds view on the captaincy is an odd one. It’s not the best player that should ultimately get it, it’s the best leader on and off the pitch. But if you think that at Bayern it was Lahm for many years, Ajax early 90’s had Danny Blind etc. Only the few exceptional players like Cruijff, Beckenbauer, Messi, Xavi and Gerrard will grab the armband quickly as they’re exceptional.

      We’ve got many good players but no exceptional players.

    2. Shouldn’t sell. At least not yet. Give him another season as he recovers his fitness and form then judge next season.

      One immediate thing is certain though.
      He is not Liverpool Captain material.

        • I’ll dig up my 10 traits to good on-field leadership book written by Prof. Bool Sheets.

          It’s here somewhere…

          Hey! I found my yoyo! ?

          • Oh look a butterfly! :)

            Genuinely wondering btw. I thought the penalty situation with Balo and Studge was poor, but his staredown with costa was memorable.

            And this is only his first season as captain, hailed by the squad, and has been absent for a long term.

            • I think thats the thing, he doesn’t know when he should act like the leader.. As much as I admire him, he gets lost in the moment too often, when need stability and a level head first and foremost.

      • Joe read the article on the echo about our pre season and possible euro qualification ,then some one try and tell me that we are not run by cash crazy fools

      • I’m not sure. We were spoilt with Gerrard. The armband is a poisoned chalice. No one will be good enough.

        In any other side I doubt there would be many questioning him.

      • I’d love Adam to be captain though.

        Think he’s my favourite player for us at the moment.

        The way he mugged off United the other day

      • Lallana will not start next season,or that’s my opinion, if we get gotze,lallana might be the knee to get the axe

        • Isn’t that the general thing though?

          Ten reasons why a player is good, counterarguement “he’s sht!” Ten new reasons with the solid reply “You’re deluded, he’s dogsht and if you can’t see that you’re a [email protected]”?

    3. Another no brainer
      – absolute madness to sell him. No way we find a player better suited to how Klopp wants to play. Her presses the ball in midfield better than anybody in the league and some GENIUSES want to sell????
      As for xhaka he may sound like a player but he wouldnt lace hendersons boots at the moment and thats a fact, infact he wouldnt put Mark Noble out of the west ham team. Very average with the ball and lacks discipline.

      The captainincy is a non issue, once he is a good lad among the players thats all that matters. Comparing him to Gerrard is pointless, what other pl team had a captain drag them through games? Gerarrd was a one off. Wes Morgan is captain of the league leaders-enough said. Klopps captain at Dortmund was no world star. Hendo is well liked, leads by example, going no where.

          • I’d say Lallana and Allen, even though I’m not a great fan of Allen. The ridiculous comment part was aimed at him being the best in the league, he’s not in the top 10. If he thinks Henderson pushes more than Kante, who is by far the best in the league at it, then he needs to have a word with himself.

            • Man seriously? What makes you think Allen is better than hendo especially at pressing. And would you give me your list of top 10 presser in the league.

      • Surely he can’t be captain!!he shouldn’t even be a regular starter!he should be s squad player next season,his performances this season has been appalling!he needs time to recover from that foot injury everybody is going on about

        • so has he not had a recurring injury? Has he not performed to high levels in seasons 13/14 or 14/15? Or would you prefer to pass complete judgement on him based on the past 3 months? The bigger picture or the short term for you?

          Captaincy is about respect of the players in the squad and leadership? Has he shown anything to suggest he has not got that? Not a good option for fantasy football im sure as he doesnt score every week to get double points but in the real world he has a fine profile to be a captain.

    4. Unshackle him from the armband and see the real henderson appear, did mr bloggs say lallana for captaincy??? Captain step over? For the love of sweet mercy!!!

    5. This kind of sucks…the fact that the international break is here so T I A is going overboard discussing every player’s future at the moment. I found discussing keeping or selling Sturridge on a basis of a rumor a tad bit disrespectful personally. Can’t we wait a little bit longer till the season is over to come up with articles like these?

    6. Read this piece the other day from Andrew Radcliffe and found it fascinating…. excuse copy and paste dump here (sharing links being bold and all that …. granted me pasting the whole thing is just as bold but it’s better than I could ever write by myself (tears) and deserves to be shared… so for those yet to see it, you might enjoy… Happy Easter everyone!!

      I’d like to put forth what I perceive to be an often underrated concept, or quality, in football. Indeed, it’s hard to define, but I have somewhat clumsily labelled it ‘The Enabler.’ It’s perhaps wise to start with a definition:

      Enable – to make possible or easy; to give power.

      The enabler then, is a player who ‘makes things possible or easy’. More specifically, a player who improves the performance of those around them. There is a temptation to jump to a cliché at this point, namely the ‘every team needs one’ type of player; the player who does the running of the more gifted individual, the stereotypical unsung hero that does the ugly stuff. Embodied by hard work, energy, discipline, and dare I say it, passion. I’m sure there are names on the tip of your tongue right now. Owen Hargreaves and Dirk Kuyt would surely fit the bill, but there are countless others.

      The enabler can be so much more than this. If we look for players who improve the performance of those around them, it would be hard to ignore the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Dennis Bergkamp or Mesut Ozil. The glue that holds an attack together, a player that appears to belong to a higher plane. The conductor – though they are often lauded for other attributes. Perhaps it is a goalkeeper whose mere presence instils confidence in the defence, intangibly solidifying them as a unit? Or is it that player who keeps things ticking over in the middle of the pitch? Gareth Barry and Michael Carrick have long been underrated proponents, but Gilberto Silva was a joy to behold at Arsenal in this regard.

      There is a special case I’d like to look at; a player who epitomises the concept of the enabler. Jordan Henderson. Let’s get this straight from the outset: Jordan Henderson is, by Premier League standards, not excellent at anything if we consider a set of discrete skills. His shooting, passing and tackling could all be improved. Nor is he an apparently intelligent, clever or skilful player. He’s not that strong, he’s not that quick. So what does he bring to the party?

      Here, we begin to define the essence of the enabler. Jordan Henderson excels at the intangible. I couldn’t say if it’s by luck or by judgement, but at his best, he manipulates space extremely well. In possession, his tireless running creates space for those around him to play; he disrupts the opposition’s shape. In transition, he finds himself in areas where other players can’t reach because of his energy. Out of possession, he cuts off angles, he presses and closes down, he covers for teammates.

      We start to be able to pin some characteristics on our enabler at this point. Efficiency; appreciation of space; excelling at the intangible.

      In all good stories, the hero needs a villain. If an enabler is a player who improves the performance of others, it follows that there could be players who impede the performance of others. I could call this player ‘The Disabler,’ but that might cause issues, so let’s settle on ‘The Burden.’ A brief point: There’s a danger of categorising certain players as burdens who don’t technically belong there. Case in point is one Michael Owen (if we ignore his contribution to broadcasting). Owen was a player who had a very specific role within the team, and he carried it out with a degree of excellence. He was a player who relied upon enablers, and contributed very little else. However, by not being an enabler, it doesn’t follow that he was a burden. His contribution to those around him was, if anything, neutral.

      There is a very obvious, high-profile example of a burden: Cristiano Ronaldo. He has a selfish style of play. He demands the ball in sub-optimal positions, and he elects to shoot when others are better placed, thus reducing the performance of those around him. However, it would be hard to argue that Real Madrid would be better off without him. His individual level is so high that his sub-optimal behaviour has a higher chance of success than others at peak efficiency. So, there is room within the team structure for a ‘burden’

      However, this isn’t always the case. Take Wayne Rooney as an example. Despite popular opinion, Rooney is a technically excellent footballer – provided he’s not returning from an injury. However, he is perhaps one of the worst offending ‘burdens’ in football. He is a player that is difficult to define in terms of his role, which at first look, would perhaps put him in the enabler category. However, in Rooney, this materialises as a tendency to play in the space of others – a gripe of Robin van Persie’s when he was at United. There is also a lack of efficiency, his technical ability dictating, at least to him, that he has to do ‘something’ when he receives the ball, resulting in slow play and a reluctance to do the simple things.

      Life as an enabler isn’t always easy. Imagine being cast as a 6/10 player despite the fact that you contributed more towards the victory than the person who took a couple of free kicks and got two assists. The enabler is the middle child of football. Difficult to categorise, and carrying a set of skills that can never be reflected in an increasingly statistical world. It is no surprise that this drives behaviour. Even this season we have seen our textbook enabler, Henderson, attempt to play more like seasoned burden, Steven Gerrard. He’s looked much worse for it. Perception is everything, and generally, burdens grab the headlines. Burdens move for big money and they adorn the backs of shirts worldwide. Who wouldn’t want to be a burden? Footballers aren’t the most self-effacing types, after all.

      However, there may be light at the end of the tunnel for the enabler. Oft-maligned and increasingly marginalised, it’s possible that the enabler just became cool again. As Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City, with their teams full of burdens, have failed to sustain a title challenge this season, Leicester and Tottenham have fielded teams full of enablers with very few burdens. Germany won the World Cup with the same approach. It’s just possible that the penny has dropped. But, it’s also plausible that the enabler will remain at the margins, unappreciated by the masses, but loved by a few.

      Andrew Rawcliffe

      • Not a bad piece. Wouldn’t James Milner also fall in this enabler category? I think this was generally the argument for Lucas Leiva as well or DM in general though a different type of player admittedly. Our enabler needs to shoot on target and atleast test the GK more often…there would be a lot less scrutiny on him if that were the case.

          • Yup…it pretty much leads to that question doesn’t it? I would think one is enough. The argument against Hendo is should we really have an enabler in a position as important and influential as central MF. And does he and Can really make up the best pairing together?

            • Ideally speaking, you’d want a team full of enablers who are also potential goal scorers. Isn’t that what the Barca and Spain model was based upon 5-6 years ago?

            • All this talk about enablers makes me think i am [email protected] site;-)

            • Yup…that was my first thinking from the moment I did a quick read. Which is why I replied to Dragan saying 1 would be enough because I was thinking of an extremely limited role. But then I realized this definition of an enabler is actually quite expansive and it really depends on the design of the team.

            • You never need burdens, and you want all you players to be enablers.. You just don’t want an enabler for the sake of it.. But you want all you players to make others play better..

            • ings will make runs whole day, if klopp tells him too and will always drag defenders with him…. creating more space, hence he is an enabler
              don’t you think so??

        • I think this piece points to is where enablers become burdens, for instance:
          Gerrard – if I don’t do it, who will?
          Hendo – Gerrard is gone, it’s up to me now… Insert shot from 35 yards here…sky high.
          Allen and Lucas are arguably very good enablers in this regard because they don’t generally try to be more than they are. Although they get so much criticism for not being more (for which I am guilty as charged).
          DS is probably neutral I’m guessing…..?…..but in top flight form with right people around him and everyone in tune…. he does become more than Owen ever was in terms of how he finds space…he also has a lot more natural ability on the ball. All Owen ever had was pace and finishing.

            • Sturrige most certainly is an enabler, his movement drags defenders all over the place. He creates holes and space all the time for theplayers around him.Watch the space created when he comes into midfield at times. Can has hit the space created at times but the pass has not come- a goal will come from this very soon and its all about Sturridge movement.

          • Yeah I’m just reading it more thoroughly now…initial reading was a bit quicker so missed some points there. Which kind of expands on this definition of enablers.

          • I think Stevie would fall into the category of an enabler when surrounded by quality but more often than not had to be the burden because of the quality or lack of it, around him. Similarly, I think the same fate could be befalling hendo but at a lesser degree. I say less because he is surrounded by some high quality potential, which when it comes to fruition, could help him stay in his role. Until then, he has to be a burden.

            • I was only adding that I felt it is related to their piece because it actually brings definition to a number of players within our team. How long have we all debated on here about merits of Allen, Lucas etc.
              This actually sheds another whole light on things for me, and makes me look at our team in a completely more rounded / grounded way than before.

            • You know what the problem here is fans, we expect our players to do all the good stuff like this – being an enabler, but also to take their chances when they get them. I could be way out of my league suggesting this, but isn’t that what total football was about? Being an all-round player?

            • Total football was about the simple rules “everyone defends, everyone attacks, one goes up, the other stays back, we hunt in packs, we charge in packs.”

              Basically Klopp football.

            • Yep and it’s also about seeing improvement on the field as a result of particular focus on the training field.
              For example, in 2013/2014 we were ace at (attacking) set pieces.
              For going on 2 seasons now, we have been rank at them. They have only marginally improved since Klopp took over, but we are entitled to complain if the mistakes are repeated on a loop. The opposite example to this would be Coutinho and what would seem to be a decision to shoot less (wildly and randomly).

            • I have a simple solution to our set pieces, we don’t let any of the current crop of players take them……

            • Where would he play though with cou10 on left and Firmino in behind, that leaves us right midfielder and he’s not the pacy winger Klopp would want. Cracking player with a beyond world class foot though.

      • Wow, you have single handedly shown copy and paste is an enabler, and not a burden.. Bravo…..great analysys by whom ever that bloke was too… spot on!

    7. If you got a world class DM who really knows is job you will see the real hendo
      Hendo always as a good game when lucas plays DM as he feels free to get all over the pitch
      Sometimes with gerrard and now can he seems to sit back more as cover for them
      Hendo plays best when he plays his own game they are not many better when it comes to getting from box to box

        • he also did it when gerrard played there when lucas plays the role hes far more likely to pop up in the box for us ,its like hes baby sitting them

        • That’s because Hendo does not run forward..if he was about to run forward Can would sit back, so we better back on Can to be our next Gerrard rather than Hendo who is being dull on the field at times

          • If he trusted Can to sit back, Hendo would run forward (like he does when Lucas is playing DM). Instead, Hendo is the trustworthy one of the pair, *enabling* Can, by giving him the freedom to flourish. Hendo is willing to take on the dull role in order to give his teammates more freedom. He deserves even more respect because he is willing to be a servant to the team.

            • Can is even better without Hendo in midfield…This was proved in his last match against Villareal, he was the Master in the midfield… Just need another good midfielder along him

            • Can did a much better job hanging back against Villareal. But surely this was related more to him maturing as a midfielder rather than Henderson’s absence. At times it amazes me the lengths to which some fans will go in an attempt to slate Henderson. At the end of the day, even if you could support the notion that Can plays better in Hendo’s absence, the fact of the matter remains that the team wins more when Hendo is on the pitch.

      • Spot on, we use him in the 2 man midfield now so he plays a bit restricted. Which is fine as he makes others play to their more natural ability and he still contributes to goals and assists.

        He’s a great asset to the club, humble lad and works his socks off for the shirt.

        • Hendo used to be able to play great passes, and score… 1st match after injury he was outstanding….
          But he became worse after that and I guess injury plays a part…
          Still I believe he will get better and better even when there are reports his injury has become permanent.

    8. We should have two decent teams because of all the cup games and injuries. Do I think Henderson will be a starter every week for Klopp? No I don’t. Henderson doesn’t have much quality in an attacking sense and isn’t brilliant at the defensive side either, he runs around and is a hard worker, but that’s how Klopp will have every single player playing for Liverpool.

    9. Love Henderson, even back when he first signed and he went through a hard time I was desperate for him to succeed. In 2013/14 season I was absolutely over the moon at how big a player he was for us. Below SAS and Gerrard but only just. Think selling him would be madness. We are a much more solid side with him on the park, Fact. Admitted he hasn’t quite been himself this season, but I put that down to his injury and if I’m honest I think the captaincy is quite a burden for him. If he is freed of captaincy and can get back to the levels of last season and the season before, there is no contest that he starts for us. Regardless of who comes in the summer

      • Hendo is a Liverpool player, he is selfless, he always wants to work hard and help his team mates, some say he’s not technically gifted, I say watch his passing footage and tell me thats not technique.

      • He was brilliant last season,but let’s not get ahead of ourselves,I can think of many realistic signings that can replace him. Gundogan for example…but regardless he might be a good squad player in the future

        • I hope we would try to sign yayatoure, someone who possess the real leadership and title winning experiences could boss the midfield with Emre Can. Hendo and Gundogan both are good players and of cause people would be happy to see them in the squad as well since rotation is needed when off form.

          • Klopp wouldn’t be able to handle toure’s laziness,I mean of you think benteke is a lazy c##t,you don’t want to know how lazy toure is, and his attitudes is bad aswell. I would go there

            • My 2cts was I believe the champion materials squad has lost the passion under pellergini after sometime due to whatever reason. This was the same team who won two titles three years ago.

              I do not care much about why other city players drop forms drastically but for yayatoure, it could be the birthday incident and their less appreciate fans caused him the form. Somehow I would put my bet on toure because we have a passionate manager and anfield atmosphere + kolo which could make him think twice on his late career. If he is able to afford the cut wages and decided to stay in england, why not?

              For benteke, clearly it was a panic buy on a good player which is totally zero compatibility with our front three AMs.

            • Was that a joke comment?
              Do you really think His form might of dropped because he didn’t get a birthday cake? HaHa. Yes that’s just the type of player we need.

            • Sigh…what I am saying is he was getting less appreciation from his current club. Birthday incident is an example of triggering it while the other back door incidents would have happened but unpublished.

            • A leader sets the tone. He is self-motivating. The kind of person that lets a lack of appreciation shape his attitude isn’t the kind of person that makes a good leader. For me, Toure is a diva, not a leader.

    10. Can’t have a team of 11 flair players . You need players to out work in, he may not be the most technical (saying that, I love the rabonas he cracks outs ) but he is effective.

      It’s telling that Tottenham want him. 2nd place team wants our captain. Hmmmmmmm.

      He would walk into most top sides in our league. Don’t kid yourself by saying he wouldn’t.

      The only thing with him is that he doesn’t always score. Should improve once the team gets more pace up top, he was at his best when bombing late into the box

    11. Im not sure why this idea of selling Hendo suddenly came up when we are there to sneak ourself into top 4(chances are there..never say never).. It all started when rumors pop up about Spurs bidding for him…
      Yes he’s been average this season but dont we need to count his heel injury as well?? As i previously mentioned..if its plantar need to experience it to know how it feels.. i’m sure he wanna perform and do well for the team.. but the condition is not allowing him.
      For me..i feel Klopp wont sell him and he will remain as the captain…
      U dont need to be world class to be captain…all that u need is passion!!! and stand for your team when needed…..

    12. My opinion on Hendo is simple, we need him, just take the captains armband away and let the bloke just play football… He doesn’t need the weight of expectation on him, certainly not the weight of Gerrards past pinning him down.. Free him up to play the way we all know he can.. The season we challenged, it was the loss of Hendo against City that was the real catalyst for our down turn, he was as influential as Suarez in the work rate he provided, the passing was sublime, and his defensive work rate was second to non… Hendo maybe going through a tough time at the moment, but for me, Hendo and Sturridge are chalk and cheese, and I only have use for one…. Hendo needs to stay, just not as captain.

    13. See, when you look assess all our players in the past couple of seasons, Hendo has easily been our best and most consistent. For me, he was our player of the season last year. Since then, two things have changed. I really think its the injury thats affecting him. Its quite clear to see that the same zip is not there when he runs with the ball and the style of play is often restricted. In the summer, Klopp has a decision to make. What to do with Hendos injury. Because for me this system is not working. I would be willing for him to recover completely from his injury because Hendo is the type of player that loses his charm if not at 100%.

      • Last season he played with the freedom of at least another midfielder or ball playing center back behind him, giving him room to move up. Now he plays in the 2-man midfield so that restricts him a bit.

        • You might be right over there and that is why a Xhaka like player is critical. I would want Xhaka more than Gotze. DM is a position we have struggled in ever since Masch left and a Hendo-Xhaka-Can midfield will be great.

          • Thing is that Klopp is a firm believer of the 4-2-3-1 system so I don’t think we need another pure DM. Xhaka can play as a CM in that 2-man midfield so I won’t be against him, but I prefer Strootman and use Stewart in the games you actually need/want a DM.

    14. I find it very funny that some fans out there have started talking up the new spine to the team, involving Can in midfield but somehow leave out Henderson. Our fortunes have improved after he got back from injury and at the moment he does not look like its affecting him.

    15. Most agree that we should keep Henderson. The issue is him being Captain. Keeping him and taking away the captaincy would be recipe for chaos for Klopp especially with Benteke already making waves about Klopp. So we have to choose whether we want Klopp to succeed or we keep a few players happy.


      Our midfield got steamrolled against Southampton without Hendo.

      His running, pressing, and defensive contribution is massively underrated.

      • Southampton did nothing of the sort, we totally destroyed their midfield first half with several turnovers and breaks that should have resulted in us going in at least 4-0 up. The second half Wanyama gave them stability and definitely allowed them to compete but none of their goals came from midfield. 2 of the 3 came directly from skrtel and his positioning the other from Flanno being turned over with Skrtel poorly positioned there too. Over all we had more possession and our midfield created several chances for us including the 2 goals. Steam rolled it simply was not. Our defence on the other hand was steam rolled/ steam rolled itself unfortunately.

        • Hendo would have done better against Wanyama than Allen. He’s bigger, faster, better defensively and much stronger in the tackle. Plus the third goal was at least somewhat on Allen for taking out Skrtel and then failing to make the clearance.

          My point is, if you want to play the double pivot, which Klopp seems to be inclined to do, you need big strong box to box players like Henderson. the Can-Allen combo didn’t work in the second half.

          • It didnt not work. Wanyama created nothing. He did stop us steam rolling them granted and done well but Can and Allen did little wrong second half. Southampton didnt play through us or boss us for possession. Dont think i dont believe Hendo would have done a good job because he would have certainly but midfield didnt lose the game. Martin Skrtel dropping out of the defensive line cost us the game. He even did it for the penalty playing pelle on side when Flano and Sakho were trying to play on the front foot.

            You are right Allen could have done better for the last goal but Skrtel had 2 opportunities to clear the ball and ended up falling over. The worst defensive performance i have ever seen in a Liverpool jersey.

            • Yeah I’m not putting the blame on the MF at all. Skrtel was awful, but really its gotta go on the whole team. Put away one or two more chances and the game is put to bed.

            • In my opinion I don’t think Skrtel is the worst CB we have ever heard. I can count him as one of our good (just good not the best). However I believe he did not possess qualities to be our key CB, perhaps this has caused by having no qualities in our squad.Sometimes I look at Sakho and really feel that it is because of the nature of the squad we have that makes some player become regular.

            • He is far from the worst- do you remember Torben Piechnik or Bjorn Tore Kvarme? Boy were they poor. Skrtel panics under pressure, always has. He can play well for a month then in important games make ammateur mistakes. Just when you think he has hit form and learned from experience he goes and does it again. Not good enough and needs to be sold. Sakho will be fine alongside someone who doesnt panic. True he is not perfect and far from elegant but he is effective and has good positional sense.

    17. The point is our team having too many squad players And very less number of world class players.. Milner , allen, lucas are all squad players… Emre can is a going to be world class player.. Henderson was almost a world class player till his heel injury.. If he starts performing at those levels again then having a reserved berth for him in the starting 11 shouldn’t be a problem as he would easily outclass the rest of our midfielders.. But the foot injury has effected his shooting and passing accuracy.. It is clearly noticeable.. And that is what is now lacking from his game..the tackling, vision, runs, pressing are all there.. But inaccuracy in passing and shooting is what makes him a squad player. In my opinion he should be given another season … He should get time to work on those 2 attributes.. And luckily we may get back our old hendo…

      • U have made good explanation mate, but I think LFC needs world class in the middle of the pick. If you observe enough there are instances where you see Hendo not doing something desirably because of lack of class. Some instances have nothing to do with injuries. Injury has reduced his work rate, lack of class has always been there. His potential is work rate, which is now lacking. should he had class, would have turned things sometimes. Do u think we need to wait my mate? We have many players unfinished product. We ar waiting for Can, Firmino, C10, S15, Origi. All these are potentials. Why do we need to add another potential. Why cant we find have few finished products to add up to the potentials? He shouldn’t be sold, but he shouldn’t be regular starter, not captain as well. Just my thinking though!!

    18. Henderson has his qualities but he is not a world class midfielder an I think he never will be.
      The biggest downside of his game is his finishing and that is a real problem for a box to box midfielder.Besides,he is not tehnical enough to beat people in the middle and create space,something that Can does very well.
      That being said i think he has his qualities,desire being the most important one.However desire alone doesn’t win games so i think we need to buy a world class midfielder such as Gundogan but at the same time Hendo is worth keeping as long as he accepts to be just a squad player.
      And in regards to the statistics,they are not completly relevant because Henderson was part of the first team and when he was rested many other first team players joined him so i wouldn’t be surprised if someone found a statistic that says liverpool have won alot more games with Johnson in the side than without him.

    19. A quality team can definitely be built around/with Henderson in midfield, as evidenced during 2013/14. He is clearly still hampered by injury atm (and illustrating why it is better for the individual to sit out while he is not at close to 100%, as no allowance will be given for that).

      Aside from the very elite midfielders like Pogba, which are few and far between, I don’t see much more on offer from other top midfielders elsewhere than a fit Henderson offers Liverpool

    20. I can’t see Hendo remaining a 1st choice starter, IF Klopp is successful bringing in the midfielders he wants in the summer.

      • But selling him this season irrespective of who comes in, is premature. If he bring in obvious upgrades on him then he will automatically find his game time limited. If he finds his game time limited, he might himself leave in jan or next summer.

        • I never said to sell him. Just that he will find himself out of the 1st team for important games and become a squad player. Lucas I predict will leave (I hope!), Allen may also leave as contract is running down…Hendo will be behing Can, Grujic and I suspect whoever else Klopp signs for CM.

    21. SELL HIM. Not only he is not a captain material, but he is also just a mediocre player who belong to mid-table team at best.

      • BINGO. That’s exactly what he is. I am sick and tired of the people who still constantly blame his injury for his mediocre play. The guy has been playing as a starter for the last two months and yet every single game he’s been crap and gets substituted and yet you have fans and writers like this article still blaming his injury. This mentality is the reason why LFC has not won the league for 26 years cause of mediocre players like this. I’d sell him in a heart beat.

    22. At this moment – until a better proven CMF is available, keep him undoubtedly. Let’s see how some of these “stars” from the continent settle in a much tougher demanding league.

    23. He deserves another season, hopefully his poor form is due to his injury. But if he keeps playing at the level he has been lately he should become a squad player and then be sold. Hope the preseason does him good and he returns to old form, when Henderson is in good form he’s a great player and we need players with his commitment in the team. Last season his performances were often the only performence deserving praise, but maybe that was just because everyone else was playing below par. We’ll see, but I think he deserves another season to prove his worth.

    24. This article is flawed in my opinion because henderson will not remain at LFC unless he is a guaranteed starter, stripping the captainship might also cause him to leave.

      Hendo should not be captain and should not be one of the starters in Klopps midfield two.

      Therefore he must be moved on, even though I like him.

    25. The criticism he is getting is unfair. He is perhaps bogged down by his captaincy not dissimilar to the way Hyypia apparently was. I would admit I was too young to watch Hyypia’s captaincy but have read numerous articles about his performance dropping, before subsequently improving when he handed it to Stevie. Hence Hendo should definitely remain as captain until someone truly special comes about. After all, I believe he would definitely still be in the first eleven until said someone appears. (How many center-mids that Liverpool can realistically buy that are clearly better than hendo?)

      The criticism about his technical ability is unfair too. He has a great passing range, and has a good final ball too, as proven by his assist stats. Only criticism is his poor finishing, which is probably more to do with composure rather than technical ability perhaps. That’s the only thing I can fault him with.

      For all we know, he might actually just be adhering to Klopp’s gameplan to maintain a solid two in midfield for protection, coupled with the heel injury, makes it appear that he has lost it this season. :p

    26. I have always liked Henderson. Even during the early days. I remember in a game in his first season, can’t remember which one, but he was flying down the right wing, skipped a challenge and delivers a great cross. I know it was a very rare sight but I could see then that he had something about him.

      As stated above, in 13/14 he was delivering quality performances. His sending off in the city game I felt really did change the destination of the league. He was a huge loss for the Chelsea, palace and one other game.

      Personally I think the 4231 formation doesn’t suit him when he plays as part of the 2. He might be better as the right side of the 3. I think where he thrives the most is at the side of the diamond or as the side of a 3 man midfield. He is purely a box to box player with a bit more of an attacking edge to him. He wins so much possession in the opposition half when pressing. I think the times that stood out most for me were the Arsenal and Spurs drubbings in 13/14.

      I voted as a squad player myself. The reason being that we need the “big players” to come into the first team. I think our squad has got some fantastic depth and players like Henderson, Llalana and others would be amazing to have as squad players to come on in games and be rotated in to give the best 11 a rest. These types of squad players will play plenty of football over the course of the season. I certainly would not sell him. I rate him highly. I just think there are better players than hendo needed.

    27. He’s the sort of player you need when it comes to playing against West Bromwich and Stoke or Bournemouth. I personally really like him.

    28. Henderson obviously devides opinion. I mean he decided my opinion about him over the last three months. In the beginning I was defending him,and the last three weeks I haven’t been so sure. In my view, keep him,but strip him from his captaincy immediately. It’s clearly dragging him down,and he aint coping with it. Secondly,sign someone in the eye to replace him in midfield this summer,and xhaka is not the answer. It has to be a player that can pass over a long range and dictate our play.let the new signing,Henderson and can fight it out for klopp’s two man midfield

      • I think we should keep him too and give the captaincy to someone who can’t be replaced.

        Pjanic would be my choice. Kovacic would be great too.

        Xhaka is definitely not needed, we have a DM in Emre Can.

        • Xhaka and Can together would be a dominant midfield pairing defensively. Xhaka is the more disciplined of the two and would provide balance and cover for Can to play his more natural game when he’s got the ball at his feet and driving forward. They’d also be my first choice in a 3 man midfield.

    29. This article takes damning with faint praise to a new level. It talks about how underrated Henderson is, then proceeds to continue the tradition.

      Henderson ought to be a key piece of the team going forward, and deservedly so, since he transforms our performances when healthy.

      • He’s very complete at some things but in others he’s very limited, we won’t make it far in Europe with Henderson in the starting XI and its better not having him in the clean sheet that having a 100K substitute who can be replaceable; Don’t get me wrong i want Henderson as substitute but that’s almost the point of the article on what Klopp said: Everyone is replaceable

    30. I’m part of the sell 10%. Nothing personal, I like Hendo and his game but he’s a shadow of his former self. Plantar Faciatis is a long term injury if not given a chance to heal. Unfortunately I don’t see him realising his footballing potential Captain or Not.. Onwards and upwards..

    31. Finally someone has seeing how good, my analytical abilities of players are, and come to appreciate it, I always tell Onyx that Hendo is only good enough to be a squad player, and is no where near being a world class player, and should not be wearing that armband.

    32. The simple fact of the matter is that he is not even close to being in the top 30 centre midfielders in Europe. Top lad, just more suited to a mid table outfit- then again!

    33. At very best Henderson is only good as a squad player. Take his engine away from him and you don’t have a awful lot left. As far as being captain of the team and a leader not in a thousand years just does not have that quality. Better quality players out there getting them in is another matter.

    34. Unloading Hendo doesn’t make much sense.He’s carrying an injury which appears to have led to this speculation.
      He is a good box to box midfielder,not a show pony but gets the job done,deffo not a DM though,as has been pointed out a DM out there gives him the scope to play his natural game.

    35. Sell him, he is not a world class player, if we want to challenge for the league and cups, we need better players in the likes of Emre Can..

        • Sorry dude, Can was limited in his playing with poor partners alongside him.. He showed his class against Villareal and you agree with that I guess… we just need another good midfielder alongside him…

          • Sorry dude but you have had to wait 2 months to come up with that comment??? One game???
            The article is about Henderson’s high win % not in one game but his Anfield career!!!

    36. We might let him go one day but the way I see Jurgen work, he wouldn’t sell Jordan or most of the players we think he will. Unless some club came with big money(like kagawa or gotze during his time at dortmund) I think Jurgen likes jordan and will keep him next season.

    37. Totally agree! Been saying it for a while actually. We’re a far better side with Hendo in it. And this comes from someone who was really critical of him in the early stages of his lfc career. Many ignore his contribution coz it isn’t flashy or obvious.

      • Yes we are better side with him, but just not good enough to get us top 4. If we want top 4, we simply need better player.

        • There is no guarantee on top 4 these days…even we get someone supposedly better. Losing him now would be detrimental to the squad.

            • That’s for sure…His game improved when he started checking those marauding runs up-field. I think he wants to be part of attack but the positions he’s been played in are defensive so I believe he should just knuckle down as such.

      • But wouldn’t you rather be replacing Allen and Lucas in the squad rather than Henderson? It’s not like we’re in the position of having to sell to buy, so the probable 10 mil difference between selling Hendo or Allen *and* Lucas won’t effect our transfer budget much.
        I’m hoping the links with Xhaka come good in the summer, him and Can as our first choice midfield pairing sounds like an engine to build a team around.

      • Why replace him though? I’m all for an upgrade, but replacing next season when there’s Allen and Lucas in MF doesn’t seem wise. 25mil is not that much money any longer..we can make our money elsewhere…not to mention with the TV money coming in and increased revenues, that investment will be made if Klopp needs it.

        • 25m is a lot of money dude, even for Henry. You can get much better player with that money, think mahrez, kante, payet, etc. If you got 50m, u can use the extra 25m to get suarez back. Anyway, he wont be happy losing the captain and 1st team place.

          • You mean Henderson right? I guarantee you that none of those players will be willingly sold by their parent clubs for 25mil – not Mahrez, Kante or Payet. It took a buy-out clause to even get a player like Benteke eventualy – that was essentially Villa saying he’s not up for sale. And get Suarez back? What you dreaming man? He ain’t leaving until Barca decide they don’t want him anymore.

            • What I mean is their price before they move to their current teams, 25m can get you much better players in europe or south america if you scout properly, definitely not in england. 25m is a significant amount that adds up to our transfer kitty and can have better use than just sitting on the bench.

            • I don’t think money is an issue any longer in the larger sense…it’s just how you spend it that matters ultimately. The argument against selling Henderson is that he isn’t one of our bottom players in the squad. He still manages to make the starting XI and our win percentage with him v/s without him this season has been 60% v/s 20%..granted there are other factors at play for that surely, but Henderson’s presence definitely did have a part to play towards that stat as well. If you’re talking about selling Hendo in order to generate more money, I think there are plenty of players on their way out in the coming transfer window and with the money generated from those sales plus the money assigned to Klopp, I think we’ll have enough for player sales.

              Approximately 40-50mil in player sales + 50mil or so set aside for transfers = 90-100mil. And bear in mind we’ve bought 2 players already..adding another 4-5 players, that’s still roughly 20-25mil per player.

    38. First off, just to make myself clear, i do not think Liverpool should sell Hendo. Secondly, i do agree that he might not be a captain material. However, i do not agree with the article entirely. There are players that deserves to go before Hendo, definitely. To use past statistic against future potential recruitment is unfair. We might have won a lot of game with hendo, but it doesn’t mean we will won any lesser with potential hendo’s replacement. Do remember players like gundogan do offer the kind of dynamism and work rate as Hendo, with better reading of game. Just my 2 cents.

    39. I’ve read a lot of comments, including the enabler piece (not bad) now if only he would enable himself to score 15 goals a season, we would not be having this conversation.

      I’ve also never been sold on him as Captain and think it’s a burden (like his supposed heel injury) he has never been able to shake off.

    40. Jon Northcroft could write the next story `Should LFC Sell Klopp’ and we can have another fruitless discussion here….

    41. Henderson’s been through it all with the fans, from that awful display against Exeter in 2011 when his own teammates wouldn’t pass the ball to him, to his importance in the 13/14 season. He knows what it takes to win the fans round and I think that experience in the dressing room and on the pitch can’t be discounted in tough times, I’d keep Henderson as squad players for that reason alone.

    42. Henderson – got it all for me. Decent lad. Mature attitude. Hard worker. Technically precise (with caveats) and still learning. He can (and given the opportunity) he will improve.

      One average season does not a bad player make. Does anyone remember his back heel nutmeg for Suarez to cross to Flanno in the 5-1 romp? Henderson was superb that day. That’s the player he is and can be. Best not to forget displays like that. I’d like to see him get back to his best.

      In this Playstation age we’re too quick to suggest we get rid of players like Hendo, as though good replacements can be picked up easily. Thankfully I think if you asked Klopp whether Hendo’s place at LFC was in jeopardy he’d say you’d been smokin’ something.

      True coaches know the value of model professionals like Hendo – only glory hungry fans would ever contemplate selling.

      Of course players of his ilk gradually fall out of favour, but only when they have been outplayed by better players coming through. As this isn’t the case yet, Hendo will be with LFC for the long term, not the short.

      But (sigh) sports journalism thrives on conflict, and where there is no conflict a writer will invent some just to give the article a reason to exist.

      In this case though, like Hendo, I’d say: Jog on.

      • As a caveat, I’d also say the same for Daniel Sturridge. You would struggle to find an upgrade for Daniel anywhere in the world at present as there are maybe ten players of his kind in the world. I doubt their teams would be willing to let go of them either.

        Many here cite DS’s sulky attitude. Oh diddums.

        Are we so immature as fans that we don’t like it when a player doesn’t respond to our overtures as fans?

        Do we get all upset when a player is so talented he doesn’t need to curry favour with the crowd?

        I played football with a goalscorer of Danny’s talent only once in my entire career and I can categorically tell you this – these players are so good, there is no way on the planet you would ever contemplate selling them.

        Even if they are a bit sulky. Points win prizes. Not happy chappies. End of.

    43. I think it’s just more manufactured speculation from a journalist.

      The only possible way I can see it happening is if Klopp wants to change the captain and Henderson won’t accept the demotion. Then it would be a case of move on. For me however, he’s quality and suits Klopp’s style. He doesn’t really inspire me as a captain though for some reason. Maybe that would change if he lead us to a trophy.

    44. When pope John Paul 2 die he was succeeded by pope Benedict . pope Benedict came in as a transition between pope John Paul and pope Francis.pope emiritus Benedict is still alive and strong and still supportive to pope Francis . This goes to the fact that herderson is a transition between Gerald and a new captain but still will remain at the club as squade player.the question now is ,who will be the new captain.for me if Can improved his English I will gladly hand this band to him. Just my opinion

    45. If we can get 20m, sell him. Its too much of a luxury to keep 20m player on the bench. He is too mediocre and has reached his peak. People keep making excuse of his heel, how long can you tolerate it? There are much better players out there at a fraction of his price.

    46. Would be nonsensical to sell him. He has been one of our best players for the past two seasons, and only thing hindering right now is the foot, which will improve at any point.

    47. Completley agree here. Selling him to Spurs would be madness! Ideally we’ll upgrade on Lucas with a top class deep midfielder who can play with Hendo or Can in a midfield 2. Hendo + Can and the new deeper midfielder when we go with a midfield 3.

      Back up coming from Grujic Allen Rossiter/Stewart.

      Fans need to forget this rubbish about Hendo and focus on whos going to replace Lucas. Thats the weakest position in our midfield.

      I have doubts we could get Xhaka or Gundogan with lots of clubs interested. There is an absolute wealth of good deep midfielders around Europe though at the moment who’d surely be interested in us . Krychowiak, Gary Medel, Allan of Napoli, Jorginho, Kramer, Goretzka, Geis, Carvalho, Camacho, Neves, Badelj, MVilla,Tolisso. Id be pleased with any of those as an upgrade on lucas

    48. yeah then we will end up with all the same deadwood which we will have to pay wages for. they will at best be loaned out or sent to the reserves.

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