Jordan Henderson has paid tribute to Steven Gerrard in the wake of Liverpool’s title win, dedicating the triumph to a captain he claims he cannot replace.
Gerrard won almost every trophy going with Liverpool, but the Premier League title is his white whale.
During his time as captain he came close to lifting the trophy a number of times, most notably in 2014 when he was in the same side as Henderson, only to fall short.
A year later, he passed the armband to the Reds’ No. 14, and now Henderson has led the club to their first top-flight title since 1990, becoming only the 10th Liverpool captain to do so.
But despite his rare honour, the 30-year-old has dedicated the win to Gerrard, saying he was “devastated” his former team-mate could not lift the trophy during his time at the club.
“This is not only for us as players and for the fans,” Henderson explained.
“It is also for players like Stevie and Kenny who mean so much to this club. I know how much it means to Stevie to win the Premier League.
“I was devastated in 2014 that we couldn’t get over the line for him but I know he is so happy and so proud of this team to be able to bring the Premier League trophy to Liverpool.
“This one is quite personal for me and to do it for him is quite big.”
It would be hard for any player to match Gerrard in terms of his influence on the pitch for Liverpool, but it can now be argued that Henderson has been as inspirational as a leader.
He adds the Premier League trophy to the Champions League, Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup in his list of honours since taking the captaincy, having also won the League Cup in Gerrard’s time with the armband in 2012.
The midfielder leads the Reds with real humility, and this shone through again as he described Gerrard as irreplaceable.
“I said this when I first took over the role of the captaincy, when people might have doubted me and criticised me as a person,” he continued.
“But I will always say no one will replace Steven Gerrard at this club no matter who the captain is or what the team wins.
“It wasn’t in my mind when I took over the captaincy to replace him; it was just to do the best I could for this club and this team and that is all I ever try to do.”
There is no doubting that Gerrard is a legendary figure at Anfield, but as his role in Liverpool’s rise to prominence under Jurgen Klopp continues, Henderson is edging closer to that territory too.