Many people thought Liverpool would beat Manchester United, but nobody quite predicted the scoreline that Jurgen Klopp’s side would inflict at Old Trafford. In the end, Liverpool effectively declared at 5-0.
While it’s Mohamed Salah who takes the acclaim from the fans around the world, it’s Liverpool’s man in the centre of the park who deserves the most credit – Jordan Henderson. The Reds’ captain has been instrumental in the rise of Jurgen Klopp’s side, consistently proving the doubters wrong as one of Europe’s top midfield talents.
Ever since the former Borussia Dortmund manager arrived at Anfield, there has been speculation about who should be signed to augment the midfield. Yet, as always, Henderson has pushed himself and shown himself to be capable of handling the Liverpool midfield.
Jordan Henderson’s contribution may have been easy to overlook, but Liverpool’s captain ran the show at Old Trafford, a performance made all the more impressive by the absence of Fabinho. The Liverpool captain took most touches of the ball without being dispossessed once. He also provided that assist which dissected the Manchester United defence and gave Salah the chance to complete his hattrick. After a quick glance, the 31-year-old unleashed a sublime ball with the outside of his foot which left the United defence helpless.
Henderson has become the ultimate box to box man, mixing his impressive defensive ability with a knack of making the difference in the attacking third. While he may not have the golden touch in front of goal of the likes of Gerrard and Frank Lampard, he has a passing range and lung capacity that even those two men would be envious of.
Since the arrival of Brazilian holding midfielder Fabinho, Henderson has emerged as a real force on the right side of a three-man midfield, forging a devastating partnership with attacking full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold. We can see that Henderson has been present everywhere on the field for Liverpool to win the ball back or to carry the ball into the final third. The 31-year old tirelessly works to recover balls in the midfield and has also contributed towards initiating moves that have resulted in a goal-scoring chance.
Henderson has provided two assists so far in the season and has an average of 0.26 assists per 90 minutes. He lies in the 93rd percentile for the assists per 90. Henderson has attempted approximately 73 passes every game and has a passing accuracy rate of 88.29%. Henderson possesses a wide range of passes and has the eye to spot the runs that his attackers as well as full-backs make into pockets of spaces behind the defenders. He has attempted 2.23 through passes per 90 minutes and is always on the look for a chance to break the opposition defence.
Jordan Henderson has always managed to control the tempo of the game when he’s present in the midfield for Liverpool. Liverpool have a high pressing style of football and need one player in the midfield who can increase the tempo of the game when needed as well as slow it down whenever required. Henderson has either played on the right side of the midfield or at times played in the holding midfield role in the absence of Fabinho. Henderson is not much effective in the holding midfield role as it doesn’t let him push higher up the pitch and has to stay back to provide an extra layer of defence for his centre backs. He is most effective playing in the RCM position as it gives him the freedom to make forwards runs and even press the opposition higher. Henderson has attempted passes throughout the field, but the passes he has made into the opposition penalty area from the right flank have had the highest expected threat.
Henderson might not be a prolific goalscorer but has the knack to score goals when his team needs it the most. He has attempted a number of shots on goal from outside the penalty area and does have the skill to score from his range. Even if he is not scoring, it helps to maintain the pressure on the opposition defence.
The English midfielder has been ever-present to help out Liverpool defensively in order to recover possession of the ball. He has attempted a very high number of interceptions in his own half which includes interceptions made to stop the passes from reaching the opposition player as well as while the player is in possession of the ball. He has also attempted interceptions in the opposition half which indicates that he always presses the opposition higher up the pitch.
Henderson has developed into one of the Premier League’s most effective box-to-box players and only needs to add a few more goals to his name. Even without the goals and assists, the Englishman remains the irreplaceable engine in midfield for his club. Although he has faced some criticism from the start of the 2021-22 season, Henderson has always been backed by his manager and his selection in big games has proved this. With the footballing abilities that he brings to the game, he also bring his never give up attitude and always leads the team.