Liverpool’s most improved – Jordan Henderson
Following a shaky start to his Liverpool career 22-year-old Jordan Henderson has slowly started to show the Anfield faithful why the Reds were willing to take a gamble with the £20 million signing of the dynamic midfielder.
Jordan Henderson started his career as a fresh faced teenager in the North-east with Sunderland first breaking into the side in November 2009. Following an impressive couple of seasons and breaking into the England U21 squad with the Black Cats Henderson caught the eye of Liverpool’s head recruiter Damien Comolli and then Manager Kenny Dalglish.
In the summer of 2011 Liverpool got their man, securing the signing of Henderson ready for the 2011-2012 season. However, it wasn’t the dream start at the Merseyside club he would have hoped for. He struggled to fit into the side often being employed as a right winger rather than in his favoured central midfield role.
The midfielder’s performances left many fans questioning why the club were willing to pay so much money for the player as he consistently failed to live up to his potential showing only fleeting glimpses of the form that got him noticed at Sunderland.
Despite his disappointing club showings, Henderson was impressive for the England U21’s and was made U21 captain as his leadership quality shone through and he has since progressed into a full England International.
With the departure of Kenny Dalglish and the introduction of Brendan Rodgers, though, there has been some sort of resurgence in Henderson’s performances. Brendan Rodgers’ style and formation seems to suit the tireless midfielder much better.
Rodgers system relies on having three types of player in his three pronged midfield. The destroyer (Lucas) who breaks up attacks and protects the defence before dropping the ball off to more advanced players. The Deep lying playmaker (Gerrard) whose job it is to turn to defence into attack utilising Gerrard’s passing and creative ability’s in the middle of the pitch. The third and final piece of the jigsaw is the dynamo (Henderson) this position requires a player who has excellent fitness and shows a willingness to run so that they can always support the attacks making runs from deep into the box and also utilises the player’s eye for a pass and ability to drive at the opposition defence.
This is a position that Henderson has excelled in recently as the position really caters for his strengths in terms of his fitness, determination and attacking instincts. In January Henderson scored a terrific volley against Norwich city in his side’s 5-0 win at Anfield, and then went on to get an assist and then score Liverpool’s second in their 2-2 draw with Arsenal just a few days later.
January was by far Henderson’s most impressive period as a Liverpool player drawing great praise from his manager and he has continued to show good form with consistently decent displays often looking dangerous and one of the more likely Liverpool players to create something.
A lot has changed since he first put on the Famous red shirt of Liverpool, but Henderson is finally starting to look at home in a young team full of talent. He has all the attributes to make it and with the right mindset he has all the ability to continue to push forward in this Liverpool side and continue to improve.
For now he must keep his feet on the ground and continue his solid displays but if he keeps up his impressive improvement. Henderson could very well make a claim to be the heir to Stevie G’s midfield throne when the skipper eventually retires.