Thanks to guest writer Leanne for this. Find her on Twitter @_lfcleanne!
Criticism is something that Jordan Henderson has become used since he joined Liverpool Football Club. The Englishman was initially ridiculed following a £20million move from Sunderland, with many instantly writing him off as not good enough.
Such criticism arose once more at the beginning of this season as Henderson seemed to struggle to adapt to his new, deep-lying role under Jurgen Klopp. However, the 26-year-old has answered his critics again with a string of boldly impressive performances contributing to Liverpool’s fine start to the Premier League season.
The statistics place Jordan Henderson as the heartbeat of Jurgen Klopp’s gegenpressing side. Flying quietly under the radar while the likes of Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho and Sadio Mane steal the headlines, the Liverpool captain has the best passing record in the league thus far.
According to EA Sports, cited by the Mirror, Henderson has completed 830 passes, almost 100 more than Fernandinho who is placed second while Paul Pogba, Manchester United’s big summer signing has averaged 70 passes per game. Furthermore, a total of 412 passes in the opposition half help to refute the idea that he is far too passive in possession.
While often under-appreciated within a side fuelled with attacking talent, it confirms the Englishman’s influence on games. Henderson has created 14 chances and registered two assists thus far, reflecting that he is also making things happen on the ball. His sumptuous through ball to Roberto Firmino against Crystal Palace provides the perfect illustration of his growing role within Klopp’s side. To put things further into perspective, Henderson has managed more assists than Ozil and Pogba, combined. Both aforementioned players receive huge praise from their respective fans yet Henderson never seems to receive such commendation.
Earlier this week, Graeme Souness said it best: “He is not a silky player but every team needs someone like Jordan Henderson. He puts the ball under pressure at every opportunity, he has great athleticism, he makes people make passes they don’t want to make.”
For all their attacking prowess, Henderson’s under-the- radar work is keeping Liverpool ticking over. It’s time he was given the credit he deserves.