Steven Gerrard was wrong about Jordan Henderson and Liverpool fans love him

It doesn’t seem like the most obvious example of how Jordan Henderson would become a Liverpool talisman captain.

But then, very little has followed the expected path for the midfielder during his time at Anfield.

In April 2014, the Reds, as they have been for the past two years, were caught in a titanic championship fight with Manchester City, whom they led 3-2 at home in injury time to take control of his own destiny. .

Then, after substitute Victor Moses unnecessarily overstepped the ball on a breakaway, the loose ball moved toward Henderson.

However, after giving him a touch of control, his second was too heavy and, in his desperation to retain possession, the England man pounced on Samir Nasri, giving referee Mark Clattenburg no choice but to wield a red card.

We all know what happened next. Without Henderson, Liverpool had a victory in Norwich City, then lost at home to Chelsea before giving up a three-goal lead to tie at Crystal Palace. They were the only Premier League games in which the midfielder did not start that season.

When Henderson returned for the final day’s victory over Newcastle United, the title battle was over.

“The story that went unnoticed was that Jordan was not available in three of the last four games due to a last-minute dispatch against City,” then-Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers said a few years later. “It was a great foul for us against Chelsea.”

Henderson may not have been able to play, but he was still involved, offering to take on the duties of the media to take the pressure off his teammates.

“Although we will lose him on the field, we cannot lose his personality off the field, either,” Rodgers said at the time. “He may not be able to accomplish the next three games on the field, but it will be very important to our locker room because he is a very important part of us.”

That attitude had clearly been recorded with Rodgers, naming Henderson vice captain a few months later and then handing over the bracelet after Steven Gerrard left the club the following summer.

Gerrard, meanwhile, had seen what was to come at the time Henderson was arrested as a 20-year-old from Sunderland for £ 16 million in June 2011.

“It’s a really positive signature, hopefully it’s the next Steven Gerrard,” said the Reds legend. “Liverpool needs a new Steven Gerrard. That’s what good football clubs do: they replace their best players. “

However, those words would be a burden in Henderson’s early years at Anfield.

Despite playing more games than anyone under Kenny Dalglish in his first season and starting both the League Cup final victory over Cardiff City and the FA Cup final loss to Chelsea, he was often on the right flank.

Rodgers, who took over Dalglish in 2012, was unconvinced and tried to transfer Henderson to Fulham to help bring Clint Dempsey to Anfield.

The midfielder, determined to prove he could get to Liverpool, stood firm. While it was a turning point in his Reds career, he did not stop fierce criticism from some sections of support who failed to appreciate what successive Liverpool managers admired, the most recent being Jurgen Klopp, who replaced Rodgers in October. from 2015.

However, Henderson’s first two seasons under Klopp were hampered by injury. In 2015/16 he was absent from significant parts of both the beginning and the end of the campaign, leaving him as an unused substitute in the final defeat of the Europa League against Sevilla in Basel.

The next term was common again until a foot injury sustained in February ruled it out for the rest of the season when Liverpool qualified for the Champions League.

The next season saw a lot of competition in the three-man midfield from James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Emre Can, Adam Lallana and Gini Wijnaldum.

Henderson, however, had transformed from a frame-to-frame midfielder into a defensive shield, and led Liverpool to the Champions League final against Real Madrid in Kiev.

Defeat underscored why Klopp wanted to revitalize his engine room with the signings of Fabinho and Naby Keita.

Henderson remained number six, but Fabinho’s late appearance meant that his position as a regular starter was under threat during the second half of the 2018/19 season before a late assist and a goal from the bench to seal a win by 3-1 at Southampton. he embraces a new advanced role in midfield.

“I feel like we’re ready, we definitely have the potential to win trophies,” Henderson said midway through that campaign. “I have every confidence with the talent that we have and with the people in the locker room that we can go and produce trophies in the very near future.”

Such trust was well placed. While the title was out of reach, Henderson was a driving force in the return of the Champions League semi-final against Barcelona and then followed in Gerrard’s footsteps to lead the Reds to a final victory in the European Cup. , Tottenham Hotspur won in Madrid.

So this season. Henderson’s victory was random and was seen twice more in 2019, with the UEFA Super Cup followed by the first FIFA Club World Cup win in Qatar against Flamengo.

There was fear that Liverpool might be hampered when Fabinho was sidelined for two months with a complaint on his ankle. Henderson simply replayed his number six role, and Liverpool won each game before the Brazilian returned.

Liverpool are Premier League champions

Premier League records were broken out of sight, but the Invincibles tag was lost with a shocking 3-0 loss at Watford, a game in which the injured Henderson was not playing.

And while the coronavirus epidemic put Liverpool’s coronation on hold for three months, there was a sense of inevitability long before the confirmation of the 19th Reds championship and arguably the most memorable.

* Show your support for Liverpool on our interactive map here after the historic title win.

Now Henderson has claimed the Premier League trophy, the first Liverpool captain to lift the championship since Alan Hansen, some 30 years earlier.

That is something that even Gerrard could not handle. And he underlined where, for once, the great Anfield was wrong.

The Reds’ boss is not the new Steven Gerrard. He is the only Jordan Henderson, an undisputed Liverpool legend who has accomplished everything on his own terms.