Since the 2013/2014 season Jordan Henderson has been a divisive player. Some see him has the hardworking, captain that we needed, and some see him as an average side passing let down, whilst some people even call for him to be replaced as captain.
From the moment Jordan Henderson took the captain’s armband from Steven Gerrard, he was in a no win situation.
Following the player who could be the best player we’ve ever had, the comparisons between Gerrard and Henderson where never going to be favourable for Jordan. He was taking over from a player, who even though was no longer at his best for Liverpool, he had been known for winning games for Liverpool almost single handedly. Henderson hasn’t and never will be that sort of player. One thing Jordan is though is a player who is good in the tackle and who can find that key pass and who always gives 100%.
Also though, expectations set by our previous captain and injuries apart, Jordan hasn’t always helped himself.
I’m very much in the camp that Henderson is a talented player, but is a man who more often than not looks for the safe option. He has never fully looked comfortable with the tag of Liverpool captain and whether your manager or fans have faith and confidence in your ability or not, if you don’t, you’ll never fulfil your potential. I’m not going to lie, I’ve expected more from Henderson, and I’m guessing so have others, and that’s why he’s received the criticism he has.
I do think some of the criticism he’s got over the last few years is unjustified, but I also believe that some of the criticism is valid.
At times over the past few years there have definitely been spells where I’ve been underwhelmed and frustrated by Henderson’s form.
The criticism from me though has never been because I thought he was a poor player, on the contrary, the criticism from me was because I thought he was capable of so much more. When Henderson is at his best he can make things happen. He’s athletic and intelligent, and has a great eye for a pass.
The problem for Jordan is he’s always had someone else who could make those things happen. Coutinho for years carried that mantle, and maybe when Coutinho was on the pitch, he felt all he had to do was give the ball to him. Then Mané and Salah arrived and all he had to do was look wide and find either of them.
I don’t think the number 6 role that Henderson has been playing mostly since Gerrard left has suited him, because believe it or not, I believe Henderson natural instinct is to go forward, when he’s not playing within himself.
The past couple of months someone or something has lit a fire under Henderson and the midfielder I expected to see week in week out, I’ve seen glimpses of him, and that’s why I’ve been so critical of him in the past.
Henderson is at an age where he should be playing at his best, and still has enough time in his playing career to make a huge positive impact at Liverpool football club.
Maybe he can start by lifting the Champions League trophy on June 1st.