At the age of only 20, and costing £20 million, Jordan Henderson seemed the least likely to be taking over as Liverpool captain when Steven Gerrard left Liverpool, mainly because no one ever thought they would see the day that Gerrard left Liverpool, but now, as we all know, Gerrard is set for a move to America in the summer and the captaincy of this historic club will have to be passed on.
During the absence of the current Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard, due to injury his young protégé has been filling the void, but can Jordan Henderson do this on a full time basis when Gerrard leaves for MLS side LA Galaxy in the summer?
This is a topic that has been on the tip of everyone’s tongue since Henderson was named Liverpool’s vice-captain at the start of the season and it came back into the spotlight again during Thursday nights Europa League clash with Besiktas when Henderson had the ball taken off him by the always controversial Mario Balotelli as Liverpool were awarded a penalty in the 85th minute of the game, to take a lead over to the Ataturk Stadium. Balotelli, of course, scored the resulting penalty but all the talk was about the Henderson and Balotelli incident, with pundits questioning how much respect Henderson had within the Liverpool group.
Henderson had a chance to silence his critiques going into the weekend as Liverpool faced arguably the biggest game of their season so far, an away trip to unexpected high fliers Southampton and without their regular commander-in-chief Henderson had to lead the team in a must win game in the race for a Champions League spot.
Liverpool ran out 2 – 0 winners at St Marys through goal of the season contender from Brazilian magician Coutinho and a second from Raheem Sterling in what could be said to be a ‘proper’ away performance as Liverpool had been dominated in all aspects and statistics of the game, except the one that mattered, the score line.
This win seemed to take the spotlight away from Jordan Henderson with the focus now being on the fact that due to other results Liverpool were only 3 points away from 3rd place Arsenal, but whilst this push for the Champions League places has taken the mind off the fact Gerrard is leaving and Henderson has to step up, but is he good enough?
When comparing the stats of the two players throughout this season Gerrard has scored more goals, which would be expected as he plays in a more forward role with Henderson having the more assists, tackles won, successful passes and interceptions out of the pair.
This could lead you to think that all Henderson would need to do is add goals to his game to be able to step up, but this definitely will not be the case as if we compare the statistics from last season Gerrard completely blows Henderson out of the water, leading in all 5 area scoring 9 more goals and providing 6 more assists in an almost memorable season for the Reds.
At only 24 years old Jordan Henderson has still got plenty of years left at Liverpool and as it looks like he will take over the captaincy reigns, can he improve his game to fill the void meaning one day he will be able to write himself into Liverpool folk law as Steven Gerrard has?
I guess we will have to wait and find out.