Alex Rodgers outlines Jordan Henderson’s importance to Liverpool and why he feels the skipper is still criminally underrated. 

Liverpool has an abundance of talented midfielders. In fact, we have so many talented midfielders that it’s genuinely hard to choose which ones deserve to be starting players.

Even the likes of Wijnaldum and Lallana, who both had fantastic seasons and could get into nearly any team in the Premier league, are not guaranteed starters and the fact that we’re most likely getting at least one new midfielder this window will only add more competition.

But a lot of people’s preferred starting lineups that I have seen or heard are missing a midfielder who, to me, should be one of the first names on the team sheet.

Jordan Henderson.

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Jordan Henderson has had a somewhat turbulent Liverpool career, seemingly coming under a lot of criticism for whatever he does. When he first joined he was seen as a rather weak link by a lot of people but since then he’s grown massively as a player and has been given the honour of being Liverpool captain which, ironically, he’s just received further criticism for.

But is this criticism fair? I’m not too sure.

It seems to me that the only reason Henderson gets critiqued so harshly is because a lot of people are stuck in the mind set that he’s rather poor like he was when he first joined instead of judging him how he is now.

Every decent Liverpool fan will agree that Henderson is a fantastic player, a joy to watch control a midfield. Last season the Englishman was a real leader at times but his biggest downfall, like seasons before, is his habit of getting injured.

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What seems to happen every time that he’s out for a lengthy period of time is that people seem to forget just how important he is.

The old mindset that Henderson is poor slowly starts to creep into people’s thoughts again. It becomes “fact” that he’s a bad player and people forget to judge him on his actual performances which, nine times out of ten, is normally pretty good.

Now, here’s a controversial opinion.

To me, Henderson is one of the best long passers in the league, definitely top 5. I know, that’s a pretty ballsy statement and yeah, people are going to call me deluded, but honestly just watch him.

Watch how he effortlessly pings the ball around the pitch to a waiting Mané or a lethal Coutinho who’s found himself in a pocket of space.

Also, he’s the captain! His teammates respect him so highly and clearly want to play under him. Henderson, after Jon Flanagan, is actually the longest serving Liverpool player in this squad having joined in 2011. He knows Liverpool. I get “knowing Liverpool” doesn’t make you a good player, but Henderson for sure is underrated as a captain.

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His communication on the pitch and organisation of his teammates is great, you can see him bossing it out there and telling people where to go and reading the game superbly.

Many people are calling for Can to take Henderson’s place, but as much as Can is great, he just can’t read the game as well as Hendo.

I feel that Henderson, when fit, would be a starter every single time and I feel Klopp understands how important he is also. He really is that good.

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