Jordan Henderson played a star role in the thrilling 4-3 win against Swansea on the weekend and produced the attacking display that everyone concerning Liverpool football club were waiting for. Henderson has been one of the stand out players in what has been an excellent season for the young Englishman, having consistently produced influential performances in the heart of The Reds midfield.
The 20 million pound man has been ever present this season, starting all 27 games so far. Although his first few seasons were not as successful as many people had hoped, sheer hard work and fortitude has prospered for the young man and it is paying off on the pitch.
Determined not to suffer the same fate as Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing, who also arrived on inflated transfer fees, Henderson had been offered a the easy way out with a move to Fulham on the cards. Turning that down and willing to show Rodgers what he is capable of, extra work in training sessions as well as advice from coaching staff has improved his game significantly. Thriving off Liverpool’s new attacking system with him at the centre, it has enabled him to play a role which brings out the best of his qualities, with his performances this.
Attacking Side of Henderson
His performance against Swansea was by far the best attacking display from England international all season. We normally praise Henderson for his tireless work rate and creative abilities but by pushing forward slightly to play more in behind the striker, he was able to play a more influential role in Liverpool’s attacking moves.
His two goals on the weekend were very different to each other. The first was beautiful in that it showed composure and technique to place the ball with the accuracy that he did into the far corner. The second highlighted Henderson’s excellent movement to drive into the box late, in a similar fashion to what Lampard has been doing for over a decade. With Suarez ready to shoot from outside the box, Henderson quickly reads the situation and runs into the box to gamble on a possible rebound, which he duly obliged, even if it was second time lucky.
His stats show two goals scored from four shots, in which all of them were on target, showed how he is slowly improving on his shooting. With a chance conversion rate of 50%, he was also able to take the only clear cut chance which was given to him.
Despite producing a good attacking display, it didnt hinder his excellent work-rate at all with the midfielder covering groung pretty much all over the pitch. Let’s face it, Jordan Henderson could run all day if he wanted to.
Henderson’s heat map indicates how much ground he made up during the game, with most areas of the pitch covered, especially within the middle and on the right hand side. We can see small marks within the right hand penalty area, highlighting the moments in which Henderson was able to make runs into the box to help the likes of Suarez, Sturridge and Sterling.
Henderson’s dashboard shows his passing range over the field, with an accuracy rate of 88% from 58 passes. This also included two take-ons in dangerous areas on the right hand side (green stars). Jordan has never been shy of a tackle and was successful in all four which he attempted in the game (green diamonds). Other stats included one headed clearance (green circle) and two ball recoveries (green cross) which shows the well rounded ability of the ever-improving World Cup hopeful.
Has Liverpool’s machine done enough for World Cup spot?
Roy Hodgson must be keeping a close eye on Henderson after several eye-catching performances. But with competition from the likes of Carrick, Wilshere, Barkley and Milner, Henderson will have to keep putting in shifts like he has done of late to secure his spot on the place to Brazil and even a starting berth if his form continues at a high standard. But first and foremost, the priority will be Liverpool and ending the season on a high.
(Heat map via Daily Mail)