Jason McAteer has made an extraordinary claim regarding Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson following his comments with The Racing Post that suggest the England international is not irreplaceable.
The former Liverpool midfielder has been hugely impressed with the Reds skipper’s performances this season which have helped propel Jurgen Klopp and his team into a 22-point lead at the top of the Premier League table with the club’s 30-year wait for a league title within touching distance.
However, McAteer has revealed that Henderson does not fall into the category of irreplaceable figures amongst the European champions insisting that only two of the 29-year-old’s teammates fall into that elite player bracket.
McAteer wrote in The Racing Post: “There are only two players in the Liverpool team who are irreplaceable – Virgil van Dijk and Alisson. Take either of those two out of the starting 11 and Liverpool are instantly weaker.
“Take anyone else out, however, and it’s a different story – and even though I am a massive fan of his, that includes Jordan Henderson. Jurgen Klopp has so much cover in all areas that he can afford to lose key men for periods.
“Henderson doesn’t always have the best of games and people are always quick to point fingers when that happens, but that’s not appreciating his value.
“When it comes to desire and character that’s when he steps up and while there are some big characters in that dressing room none is bigger than Jordan Henderson.”
What RTK has to say
We’re going to have to disagree with McAteer on this one as Liverpool’s skipper has proven time-and-time-again that he offers qualities in the team that no-one else can match.
The Englishman’s absence against West Ham was worryingly more apparent than supporters had first hoped. In football, you never appreciate what have you have until it’s gone and there is no escaping the fact that the absence of Henderson from where he’s most effective reduced the powers of Klopp’s side.
Liverpool gave away two sloppy goals and allowed momentum to shift. Liverpool for a brief moment became naive and lacklustre forgetting their core values and a ruthless cutting edge. Klopp’s team lacked their usual drive, control and energy from midfield. Far too many second balls were lost. There wasn’t a commanding presence.