HomeZ OLD CATEGORIESEPLJordan Henderson | Stats Performance Analysis

Jordan Henderson | Stats Performance Analysis

Jordan Henderson has had his fair share of critics since his high value transfer to Anfield in the summer of 2011. Touted as a relatively young English player with Premier League experience, he had featured for Sunderland’s first team for two years prior to his move to Anfield last summer. His first couple of performances often when unnoticed and were under stated. His role in the side then was much like Lucas’. Unless one paid extra attention to what Jordan was doing every second in the game, it would be hard to describe what exactly he did within the team.

I’ve watched him play for Liverpool and believe he is a very talented footballer. Unfortunately he has also featured for the Reds on the right flank which doesn’t play to his strengths at all in my opinion. However, his never give up attitude shines through no matter where he is positioned on the pitch. As such, I wanted to analyze his stats in order to figure out what he provides to Liverpool FC.

Jordan is primarily a central midfielder. I will be looking into both his attacking and defensive statistics to better understand his qualities as a footballer.


On a purely defensive basis, it’s not surprising to see Lucas outperform the rest of his team mates. Comparing the Jordan to Adam and Gerrard, neither stands out a lot. Adam, prior to Gerrard’s return has maintained a very free role within the team and hence his stats regarding duels eclipses those of Henderson’s. The one statistic that does stand out is the loss of possession. Jordan’s stats are the highest among the players being compared. It suggests he doesn’t have the kind of composure on the ball that the likes of Gerrard and Lucas have. However, one must keep in mind that he has not always played in the center of the pitch. His starting position on the pitch ultimately does make a big difference to his defensive and attacking statistics. (Compare Johnson and Skrtel/Agger’s statistics, and that kind of difference is understandable).

The above graphic clearly portrays Lucas’ dominance defensively. Not only has he attempted the most tackles, he has also won the most. Henderson, while he hasn’t attempted as many, boasts a good percentage winning 25 out the 30 he has attempted. I observed that Jordan does tend to shy away from some possession duels and tackles which could explain why some of his gross numbers are lower than those of his compatriots.

Another critical stat worth looking at is interceptions. It highlights a player’s positioning and ability to read the game. Jordan does almost as well as Adam does in this regard. Lucas clearly wins the battle again, while Gerrard’s stats are negligible considering the time he has played this season.

So where does this leave us? Jordan is not the best footballer defensively. Having watched him play, he tends to shy away from possession duels and tackles. His ability to read the game and do well at whatever he does attempt stands out though. Furthermore, he hasn’t always started in the center of the pitch. Having played multiple games on the wings, it’s understandable why his stats do differ from those of his team mates.


The passing stats are probably the most important when analyzing a central midfielder. Taking Lucas out of the equation as he usually sits back, Henderson boasts an 84% completion rate along with Gerrard. Described as a neat player, a number of fans believe Jordan usually plays simple, short passes. I agree he started his Liverpool career playing it safe, but he has slowly and gradually developed the confidence to be a little more creative. Similar to Adam, Jordan’s passing game includes a variety of passes. However, Adam varies his passes a lot more than Jordan does. So yes, he does tend to keep it safe for the most part. He tries to keep possession and keep the ball moving. Jordan is clearly not the Alonso type player. In fact, if a comparison was to be made, he resembles Frank Lampard in a number of ways.

Looking further into Jordan’s passing towards the attacking game, it’s clear this is the area where he shines the most. Furthermore, he has performed his best from central roles as opposed to the wings. This is proven simply through his crossing ability. Having played on the wings, his gross number of crosses doesn’t compare to that of Adam’s. Even Gerrard has managed an almost equal number in under three times the total playing time. Jordan’s ability to beat his defender individually has also been suspect. While I don’t have stats to back this up, simply watching the games has left me, among others with this impression.

Gerrard’s attacking abilities stand out the most from the above graph. His influence in creating chances is second to none at LFC. (Bar Suarez, to an extent) Adam’s stats feature the most number of chances created. However, one must keep in mind that he usually takes most of the crosses and a number of the chances he does create in open play are the result of crosses. As such, it’s of no surprise he has the most number of chances. Jordan in comparison usually manages to create at least one chance per game. It isn’t a great statistic, but it is consistent. Adam features the most assists for Liverpool’s midfield. Out of the 6 assists under his name though, 4 originate from set-plays. What it does mean is that through open play both Jordan and Adam are similar to an extent. Through open play, both of them have managed to create 2 clear cut chances each.

For the most part this season, Adam has taken on a free role. Only once Lucas was injured has he sat back a lot more. This explains why his final third entries (Editors Note: Final Third Entries are passes into the final third and not physical entries) are so high in comparison to Henderson’s. With that said though, Henderson’s final third entries are on the low side as well. His numbers are very similar to those of Lucas even though Lucas barely ventures forward. Then again, with Adam assuming some sort of a free role, it requires someone to sit back and provide cover. Either way, Jordan could do better by moving himself and the ball forward a little more.

The above graph indicates where Adam falls short in comparison to the others. Jordan on the other hand boasts the highest pass completion in the attacking half as well as the final third between himself, Gerrard and Adam. These attacking half numbers demonstrate well where Jordan is usually positioned on the pitch. Even though Adam has a large number of total passes, his attacking half numbers are not very different in comparison to those of Jordan. The stats indicate that Jordan plays further up the pitch a lot more than Adam does and is more successful than he is in those situations.

The central midfielder’s passing statistics usually indicate a lot about the player being studied. Gerrard clearly does well to create chances. Adam excels in certain areas of his passing game, but not all. He lacks the vision and accuracy needed in the attacking half. While Jordan’s numbers aren’t a huge improvement in comparison, what Jordan possesses in his passing game is consistency. He has the ability to create chances, keeps the ball moving and has good positioning. In addition, his creativity through open play isn’t terrible and is debatably better than Adam’s. Henderson has generally done well when played in his preferred central role. His strengths work well for that position. However, he does become a little useless when played out on the wings. (Editors Note: There are no stats for 1st time passes however a lot of Jordan’s passes are played with his 1st touch. So to Jordan’s credit his accuracy with his 1st touch is very high and to continue to keep a consistent high pass accuracy is a credit to him).

Our final analysis looks into the attacking abilities of Jordan and his team mates. Liverpool has barely scored in the PL this season. In addition, their chance conversion is the worst in the league. As such, it’s no surprise that neither of the players being analyzed have hit the 5-goal mark. Adam has gotten more than two goals through shots, though they were deflected inside goal by opposition players. His 2 goals recorded by the league have both been penalties. Henderson has a single goal, while Gerrard has two. Bar Gerrard then, none of our central midfielders have the ability to consistently score a few goals. This is ultimately where comparisons to players like Lampard end. Jordan lacks an end product. At a total of 28 shots his attempts are not very frequent. While his accuracy is clearly better than Adam’s, he still can’t compare to Gerrard in this regard. Finally we look at his dribbling ability. Hendo is not exactly a dribbler. At 7 successful dribbles it proves what many say regarding the safety of his plays. However, he isn’t completely devoid of ball handling skills. He has often shown glimpses of his abilities and a little more confidence in his own abilities could make a huge difference.


Jordan is far from a terrible player. Defensively he isn’t as good as others in the squad. What stands out is his lack of attempts to win back balls and tackle. Then again, he isn’t a defensive midfielder. From a passing standpoint, the first thing that one observes through his stats is his consistency. His passing range isn’t the greatest and he lacks the variety. His pass completion is thus a result of playing safe balls. That’s not wrong though. He keeps up the momentum and hangs onto possession well. When he does change up his passing, it’s often well thought-out with a final ball in mind. He creates chances consistently, though not as many as his team mates and others in the league. However most are from open play as opposed to crosses. His shooting could see some improvement as far as attempts go. A little confidence and encouragement from others around him could serve to do him well.

Jordan Henderson is not exactly a Gerrard type player. He lacks the dynamism that Gerrard possesses to work all around the pitch. Furthermore, he isn’t a defensive midfielder and as such isn’t best suited in a 4-4-2 type formation. The position that most likely suits him is that of a central attacking midfielder, or a central midfielder that has good defensive cover behind him.

Do I think his high price tag will pay off? I hope it does and in my opinion it is looking likely.  His confidence has seen gradual increases each week and his overall game has seen some very observable improvements. He does require some refinement and probably a little more versatility depending on the type of player we want him to become. With that said though, playing him on the wings will do him no good.

So yes, he is a good player, young, probably a little overpriced, but the potential is evident. Not our best transfer by any stretch of the imagination, but far from our worst. A very good prospect and it will be interesting to see what the future holds for him.

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