There have been many reasons for Liverpool’s dominance of English football in the past year, and there’s no doubt that Jordan Henderson has been a major one.
However, whilst that’s acknowledged now, it hasn’t always been the case, as the Reds captain was regularly underappreciated by neutrals away from Anfield. A significant proportion would question whether the midfielder was good enough to be in the side, and there was always a scepticism when he was selected to play for the England national team.
Henderson has battled through that though and is now respected as one of the crucial men behind Liverpool’s success. Away from the pitch, his influence is rising as well, to the extent that he is the third favourite in the Sports Personality of the Year 2020 odds – just behind Lewis Hamilton and Ronnie O’Sullivan. That is quite the turnaround for Henderson and one that he deserves immense credit for.
In terms of how he helps Jürgen Klopp’s team, there is no now doubting the role he plays. Whilst the likes of Sadio Mane, Mo Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold, among others, have taken the spotlight at times, Henderson is the one that makes the team tick. He is the one that does the dirty side of the game, and he is a lot more capable with the ball than he is given credit for. Liverpool fans know that though, with the midfielder etched into the club’s history after becoming the first man to lift the top division title for the club for 30 years.
Recent months have also highlighted just how good a leader Henderson is as well. Obviously, fans don’t get a proper insight into what goes on at a major football club, but there have been several little reveals that have painted the 30-year-old in a positive light. One was the message that he sent to Dejan Lovren after the defender left the Premier League champions for Zenit. Elsewhere, fellow captains have praised Henderson for taking the lead role over crucial talks involving clubs.
So, he appears to be someone who relishes the responsibility of leading a club like Liverpool, which has fans across the planet. Where it may have been a burden and inconvenience for some, particularly trying to follow an icon like Steven Gerrard, it is something that has taken Henderson up a level, both on and off the pitch.
Having turned 30 earlier this year, you may think that Henderson would be declining, but that’s not happening. He remains as crucial to Klopp as ever and targeting more silverware domestically will be the aim. And, the ex-Sunderland man will also have England on his mind. He is a key player for Gareth Southgate and Euro 2020 will present him with an opportunity to make history with the Three Lions.
That will be a tough task, but with the way Henderson has bounced back and established himself as one of the most influential players in the Premier League, it’s certainly possible. He’s spent the past few years defying the odds and reversing people’s opinions of him, so who can rule out Henderson leading Liverpool and England to more success in the future?