Jurgen Klopp stressed he “can’t help” those who still underestimate Jordan Henderson, after the Liverpool captain’s latest “exceptional” performance.
Henderson has been in stunning form of late, and this continued with a Man of the Match display as the Reds eased past Sheffield United at Anfield.
Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane sealed a 2-0 victory, but with 74.8 percent of possession and 19 shots on goal to the Blades’ three, the scoreline barely flattered the hosts.
It was a totally dominant showing, in which Liverpool had 1,108 touches to United’s 471 and recorded the Premier League‘s best-ever tally of passes in a single game with 969.
The captain had the third-most touches (140) and made the second-most passes (131) with a 92.4 percent accuracy, completing the second-most long passes (nine) and creating the second-most chances (four).
In a game that saw the Reds suffocate their opponent, with Chris Wilder explaining how they “won every first ball [and] every second ball,” Henderson’s performance was outstanding.
Klopp used the word to praise the 29-year-old after the game, underlining why he can no longer be under-appreciated as his form warrants widespread recognition.
“First of all, hopefully it stays like this. Yes, he’s exceptional. Yes, he’s outstanding,” he told reporters.
“I have to say, what Gini and Hendo [are doing] especially now, because they had the biggest number of games played there, it’s just incredible.
“Absolutely incredible, I don’t take that for granted for one second. If anybody who is with us doesn’t see the quality of Jordan Henderson, I can’t help him.
“Is Hendo the perfect football player? No. Do I know anybody who is? No. Is he unbelievably important for us? Yes.
“He didn’t like the No. 6 position when he saw how good Fabinho is! I asked him, I don’t know when, two or three weeks ago when he’d already played exceptional in the position, ‘you don’t like the position, right?’, and he was laughing.
“Before that, he played centre-half, so I don’t know exactly what Gareth Southgate is now doing, which position he will play there. But there are a few options, obviously.
“You see in life, character and mentality helps always, and in this case especially.
“But for me it’s only difficult to speak about one person positively, because I always feel I have to mention all the others as well.”
While Henderson would echo Klopp’s sentiment that praise should be given to the entire squad, given long-standing perceptions of his role the captain certainly deserves a focus.
Given the injuries the Reds are dealing with currently, with Naby Keita joining Fabinho and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the list of midfield absentees, how Henderson has stepped up so consistently is crucial.
He is arguably on his best run of form since the 2013/14 campaign, when a red card ruled him out for a three-game run that lost Brendan Rodgers’ side the title.
The hope will be that he can maintain this, along with his fitness, as he is an invaluable player for Liverpool.