Jordan Henderson is back training with his team-mates at Melwood, in a bid to be part of the match-day squad that takes on West Ham on Sunday…
The club captain has been allowed an extended break following his exploits at the World Cup with England, and despite asking Jurgen Klopp to allow him an early return, Henderson was made to stay away and recharge his batteries!
There’s a very small chance we’ll see him this evening off the bench against Torino, actually, but the 27-year-old will only play a cameo if this does prove to be the case.
Interestingly, despite his strong end to 2017/18, Henderson has been left out of many speculative ‘Potential Liverpool XIs’ throughout the summer, due to the club signing Fabinho – a natural holding midfielder – but Klopp is adamant the skipper is still vital both on and off the field.
He has though admitted Henderson’s role may become more versatile, rather than solely being a no.6 as he has been the past two seasons.
“Hendo is so important to us, not only as a player but also as a person and as a leader,” Klopp told the Liverpool Echo.
“You need these players like Hendo and Millie to help create a special spirit in the squad, otherwise it doesn’t work.
“There are no doubts about Hendo. I didn’t need the final proof in and around the World Cup or in last season.
“He had to learn kind of a new position for him. I still remember the Burnley game [at Turf Moor in August 2016] when we lost 2-0 with 80 per cent possession.
“Hendo for sure was involved in the first goal with a press ball that he didn’t win. One of the main things I was asked about after the game was: ‘Can he really play as the No.6?’ I said: ‘Yes, he can and he will.’ He had to learn and he had to improve and that’s exactly what he did.
“He can still play as the eight or we could play some games with a double six, Fabinho could play the eight or whatever, that’s all possible.
“If things were fixed with just one line-up and all the others were only needed when the rest are ill that would be the wrong way and we’d have no chance.”
We like this. Henderson’s best ever season in red was arguably 2013/14, when he played ahead of Steven Gerrard and could influence the attack as well as break up play centrally.
So not only does having Fabinho in the side allow Hendo a freer reign, but it makes us far more defensively solid, too.