Former title winning Liverpool star turned pundit Steve Nicol has nailed it with his analysis of Jordan Henderson and Xabi Alonso.
Nicol reckons that while the Spaniard is a more naturally talented footballer, the actual impact Henderson has had on Liverpool throughout his career makes him the greater Liverpool midfielder.
Xabi shone between 2004 and 2009, but probably only had two elite seasons – his first and last – and became a truly generational midfielder at Real Madrid.
Henderson won’t go down in football legend in the same manner as Alonso, but the manner in which he drove us to the Champions League last season and then the Premier League this – as captain – puts him higher than Xabi in terms of impact for us.
“Well you have to say that Henderson’s been more effective because Liverpool have won the Champions League and he’s pushed them, he’s one of the main reasons why they’re going to win the Premier League,” Nicol told ESPN FC, cited in the Star.
“As great a footballer as Alonso was, I think the influence that Henderson has had on this team has been bigger than Alonso had.
“Listen, as football players, Alonso’s a better technician than Jordan Henderson.
“I don’t think that’s in question.
“So it becomes the biggest impact and I think no doubt Henderson’s made a bigger impact in this Liverpool side than Alonso did for the team he played for.”
We’re not for one minute saying Alonso wasn’t truly exceptional – he was – and as a mercurial passer of the ball – there have been few better.
But Hendo is set to win the Premier League Player of the Year award in the season Liverpool finally secure the title.
The likes of Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres and Alonso himself couldn’t do that.
Right now, Xabi is managing Real Sociedad’s second team, and we hope to see him make a move into management in England one day. He’s certainly got the football brain for it!