By Carl Norris
In Jamie Carragher’s autobiography he states, and I’m paraphrasing, that the difference between Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard is that Gerrard was born a world class player, while Lampard made himself into one. As I painstakingly watched Lampard have a great game in this years’ Champions League Final I thought about Carragher’s assumption, and I came to the conclusion the only two words that matter here are world class.
I watched Lampard closely as he robotically passed out of pressure, kept the ball for his side, played the simple pass, and kept his tactical awareness. That night I watched another European Final, a one Liverpool fans know all too well, 2005 in Istanbul. Watching Gerrard in that game his presence is immense. He was everywhere he needed to be on the pitch that night, including at right back. But the moral of the story is whether you were born with an innate ability to be the difference for your team while lifting those around you and making them better, or you had to tirelessly work at it, the most important thing you do is win.
Enter Jordan Henderson; a player who came into LFC with massive expectations, and a hefty price tag as well. Since Henderson came to LFC he’s heard naysayers, like a lot of players who don’t produce 9s and 10s on a game in game out basis at the club. But this was different I felt it was a bit harsh. After all he’s barely 21 years old; he was playing out of position early in the year (even right back at Blackburn), and he was adjusting to a new city with different standards then his home club Sunderland. These are not excuses, just facts. He never made excuses either; he just gave 100 percent every game he was penciled in the first eleven. Even Dirk Kuyt an LFC legend can be seen saying Jordan Henderson works the hardest in training in an LFCTV Online Video.
The irony here is that all year I’ve heard Liverpool fans either give Henderson a 10 or a 1, there have barely been any fair in-between, average grades. And to be honest, he’s been a 7 all year long. Sure he seems to only be capable at times of playing square and back passes, but don’t forget about a certain Lucas Leiva either. A man who was vilified at times by the LFC faithful, myself included. Lucas has turned himself into somewhat of a cult hero at LFC and for good reason, as his loss was felt all season.
I see the same future for Henderson, as he has no quit in him. He took his goal well in the last home game vs. CFC, and you could see what it meant to the young lad. So I ask other LFC supporters to not live in the moment with Henderson. There have been too many highs and lows in his critique all season. It’s a process, as long as he continues to give everything to the team as he did all year long in terms of effort and graft he will be all right. What Steven Gerrard has you’re born with; you either have it or you don’t, but you would be lieing to yourself if you said you didn’t want to see Jordan Henderson turn himself into a world class player like Lampard.