Jordan Henderson has stepped up to fill the void of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for Liverpool.
Oxlade-Chamberlain’s injury undoubtedly left Liverpool short this season. He’d proven to be invaluable over the latter half of last season, after all.
His performance against Manchester City in the Champions League was a standout. More than that, though, Oxlade-Chamberlain finally made Liverpool’s Coutinho-less system click.
He’d drive on from midfield, linking the attack and adding dynamism that Liverpool otherwise lacked from deep.
And so his injury hurt the team badly. Naby Keita hasn’t got up to speed this year, meaning that there wasn’t anyone playing the role.
Jurgen Klopp tried switching formation to 4-2-3-1, allowing Roberto Firmino to provide the link. But Liverpool never looked as comfortable like that.
Henderson filling the void
But up stepped Jordan Henderson to save the day. The captain came on as a ‘number 8’ against Southampton and transformed the game. Liverpool looked dynamic, full of energy, and he finished the game with a goal and assist.
Fast forward to the Porto game, and Henderson was the one who split the defence open to get Liverpool going.
Then Chelsea show up at Anfield and Henderson, once again, creates the opening goal. He’s the midfielder who gets beyond the strikers, the one who is happy to drift out wide, get in the channels – he’s comfortable doing whatever is needed because he’s got the ability and energy to.
Let’s not forget that Henderson has played as a right-winger and he’s played as an attacking midfielder. He can play these positions comfortably and that’s such an advantage in this role.
It’s what Liverpool have missed all season with their number 21 out injured.
Liverpool finally have their rhythm back – and it’s thanks to Henderson filling the void of Oxlade-Chamberlain.