Liverpool’s season was blown off course again in the dismal defeat to Brighton.
Currently, they appear trapped in a fierce storm being thrown from side to side with brief interludes of steadying the ship before another wave smashes into the hull.
They need their captain back at the helm to steady the ship.
Mohamed Salah’s spectacular counter-attack goal against West Ham looked a world not a game away against Brighton.
Too often the team looked short of drive and inspiration.
The problem was their traditional source of energy and vigour when the going gets tough was busy protecting the backline.
Jordan Henderson did a sterling job, again, as a makeshift centre half but his presence has been sorely missed in the middle.
It would be unfathomable to think of Rafa Benitez or Brendan Rodgers deploying Steven Gerrard in defence, but that’s the similar proposition Jurgen Klopp has been forced to contend with on occasion in the past month.
Henderson’s importance to this current Liverpool side rivals Gerrard’s influence even if there are less goals and assists.
According to the Telegraph, since a defeat to Tottenham Hotspur on October 22, 2017, Liverpool have lost only two Premier League games when Henderson has started in central midfield.
And both those games were against Man City.
However Henderson has been such a crucial part of Liverpool’s success for much than just the past two years.
Many will recall how his absence from the team during the infamous climax of the 2013-14 season coincided with the defeat to Chelsea and a draw at Crystal Palace.
When Jose Mourinho parked the bus at Anfield as Brighton and Burnley did recently, Liverpool struggled without the battering ram that is Henderson.
Again and again last night Liverpool ran into a wall of Brighton defenders, appearing devoid of urgency.
That’s what Henderson brings at his best.
Liverpool’s issues – and in particular injury list – run deeper and it would be foolish to assume that moving Henderson back into the middle will solve all the problems.
It would be hard also to criticise Klopp’s decision to play Henderson at the back against Brighton when the alternative would have been playing the untested trio of Ben Davies, Nat Phillips and Caoimhin Kelleher.
Now with Fabinho set to return and Phillips proving his worth as back up, surely Henderson must return to his rightful position in the make or break City game.
After all if you’re on a ship caught in the middle of a massive storm where do you want the captain?
Hidden away at the back or leading from the front?
The answer is obvious.