Jordan Henderson unlikely to return for Liverpool against Arsenal

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Jurgen Klopp has provided an update on the fitness of Jordan Henderson, with the captain likely to miss Liverpool’s clash with Arsenal.

The Reds will look to respond to Monday night’s 3-1 loss away to Leicester City when they welcome their top-four rivals to Anfield on Saturday evening.

Having suffered humiliation at the King Power Stadium, Liverpool’s hopes of a strong finish in 2016/17 are in tatters, and that is not helped by the absence of Henderson.

The 26-year-old suffered bruising to his foot during training last week, and this ruled him out of contention against the Foxes.

And speaking to reporters after the loss in the East Midlands, Klopp cast a doubtful eye over Henderson’s recovery, suggesting he would not be available to take on the Gunners.

When asked about the severity of the midfielder’s injury, the German simply asked “what does ‘long term’ mean?”

“[He’s had] a couple of games [out], already two. It looks like he will not be ready for Arsenal,” he added.

“That’s how it looks but I’m not sure, we will see.”

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - Monday, February 27, 2017: Liverpool's Sadio Mane and Adam Lallana look dejected after conceding the first goal against Leicester City during the FA Premier League match at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by Gavin Trafford/Propaganda)

The Reds certainly struggled without their captain at the King Power, lacking the impetus that he provides from deep, with Emre Can not performing to the level required in his absence.

Klopp was forced to change his system throughout the game, including moving Can back alongside Lucas Leiva and Joel Matip in a three-man defence.

This served to have little impact on the result, and now Liverpool are in desperate need of three points against Arsenal on March 4.

On a wider scale, Henderson’s absence, and the Reds’ failure without him, once again highlights a lack of depth within Klopp’s squad, and the need to reinforce in the midfield in the summer.

That Can’s counterpart, 20-year-old January signing Wilfred Ndidi, was so outstanding in Monday night’s clash provided a stark reminder of the importance of stability in the No. 6 role.

Liverpool have been consistently hampered by sides employing dogged defensive midfielders this season, with their 2-2 draw with Sunderland and 2-0 loss to Hull City two clear examples of such.

With only Can, Lucas and Kevin Stewart as viable options in Henderson’s stead, Liverpool lack the bite they need in the engine room, and if his injury persists, this could prove fatal.

It will, however, be a different game against Arsenal, but the loss of Henderson will be felt nonetheless.

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