Jordan Henderson: Keep or Sell?

Jordan Henderson: Keep or Sell?

Jordan Henderson was loved and revered by the fans some months back but since his return from injury, the player has been criticised severely. Fans have not been very kind to him, which would be underplaying it. Rumours suggesting Tottenham Hotspur would like to buy him in the coming summer have been welcomed. This comes in stark contrast to when the player made himself indispensable in Gerrard’s absence last season and was heralded as the right choice to take over the armband from Steven Gerrard.

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So why the recent hate?

There is a startling lack of creativity in the centre of the pitch with Liverpool’s midfielders not offering enough for the attackers to thrive on. The midfield is called the “heart” of the pitch and the lack of an able heart is hurting the Reds. Jordan Henderson must certainly take his fair share of the blame.

The midfielder has also been beset by injuries this term and has missed a significant chunk of games with a broken metatarsal in his right foot, and the heel condition plantar fasciitis in his left. The return from injury hasn’t been easy for the former Sunderland player and it has been noted that his injury issue could never be permanently solved. Henderson has said that he can get used to playing with the pain but if that’s the case, the problem definitely is serious and would hinder his game. There is absolutely no doubt that the England international possesses serious ability — you don’t become a full international player having represented your national side at the World Cup without that — but perhaps there really is a problem somewhere.

Is the 26-year-old playing more than he has the capacity to? Is he not getting the right sort of support in the midfield? Is the captaincy holding him back? Whatever the reason, there is a visible decline in output from last season and the season before. 

The point is that if Liverpool are to compete with the best, at the top level, they cannot rely on Henderson every week. The Englishman is arguably not at the level Liverpool need him to be, if they are to constantly challenge for trophies and compete in the Champions League. The likes of Xhaka and Gundogan, who has been linked with Liverpool, are definitely more exciting if nothing else. 

However, Henderson is still in an important part of the squad and selling him would hurt Liverpool in the long run. When Liverpool’s second half capitulation against Southampton was taking place, a player like Henderson could really have been of use on the pitch — someone who could provide some guile and character in the middle. 

It is understandable that the player shouldn’t be used in every match, which means his position as Liverpool’s captain should be under threat; however, he should certainly be kept hold of in the player capacity. Henderson is most effective while playing a slightly attacking role and the fact that no other English player has more assists than him since 2013/14 illustrates this fact. So far in the Premier League, “Hendo” averages 1.3 key passes every 90 minutes. Last season, he averaged 1.9 key passes every 90 minutes while the number was 1.8 in the 2013/14 season. His tackles and interception stats for every 90 minutes in the league have gone up in contrast. This shows that Henderson is playing with a more defensive approach and isn’t able to contribute significantly in attack, which he is better at and crucially, something that is more evident while watching the game. 

The summer will probably see the addition of a defensive midfielder who can partner Emre Can in the midfield. Jordan Henderson would thus be able to play a more free and attacking game in the midfield whenever he features.

Liverpool have played 49 games this season at the time of writing, if the Reds are to play similar amount of games every season — which Klopp would be hoping for — keeping a large squad is essential and the experience and ability of Henderson will come in useful. He has also been part of the club for five years and has a little bit of “Liverpool” in him, something which can come of use when newer additions are made in the summer. This is obviously not a huge factor in the argument to keep him at Anfield but most definitely plays a part as well.

He shouldn’t be an indispensable and undisputed starter in the team, and is arguably not the ideal choice for the captain, but he certainly shouldn’t be sold, much less to a direct league rival because as shown by his growth in recent years, he has more to offer than he has been doing in recent weeks.

by

22; History graduate; English Premier League enthusiast with interest in Ligue 1 and the Croatian National Team.

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Comments

4 responses to “Jordan Henderson: Keep or Sell?”

  1. Jerry says:

    What’s in a captain? And more so, a captain at Liverpool FC. Inspiration, charisma and leadership is what i could think of. What does Hendie possess? Inspiration? Nope. Charisma. Nope again. Leadership? Slight. Enthusiasm? Yup. Energy? Yup. Do the above point to an influential leadership which is reminiscent of a Liverpool FC captain? Forgive me if i’m comparing Hendie to an all-time great called Steven Gerrard. But going through the history of Liverpool FC shows that the club’s captaincy is something that previous managers have put loads of thoughts into maybe except for a certain “tactical genius” in Brendan Rodgers. A leader is different from a worker. A leader pulls his troops through difficult times and grabs a game by the scruff of its neck when the going gets tough. Sad to say, Hendie just isn’t in the bracket of such class. Sure, he can be a useful squad player but in Klopp’s setup, Hendie just doesn’t fulfill the expectations required beside an ever-improving Emre Can. To remove the captaincy itself is already a difficult option, let alone selling off a captain. But a short term pain is equivalent to a long term gain and Klopp will need to be at his ruthless best to bring the best out of Liverpool FC.

  2. devan mehta says:

    Good article. But i would prefer we sell him as he not world class and wont agree as a back-up. Times up HENDO as those who finish above us will also improve their teams.

  3. kunle says:

    Henderson is just too average to be given Liverpool fc captaincy. This is one of the destructive legacies left by Rodgers. Rodgers himself was not even worth being a Liverpool coach. However, I would rather we keep Henderson just because of his hard work and energy. He could serve as good backup for our main players in the midfield when short term injuries set in. Frankly speaking, he’s just too average for a liverpool fc challenging for honours!

  4. Aaron says:

    There are persisting talks of Klopp still being after Dahoud of Gladbach.
    This persistence lead me to believe that Klopp aims to replace someone for that position in the starting 11. Can’t help but think it’s Henderson that will get replaced in the starting line-up… can’t see Can being replaced.

    What you do you guys think?

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Published by EPL Index
Updated: 2016-03-28 09:36:05
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