Liverpool and Jordan Henderson got exactly what they needed ahead of the Merseyside Derby this weekend. It’s a massive game for the Reds.

Jordan Henderson simply must play the Derby against Everton. He was, after all, the most conspicuous absence in the 7-2 defeat against Aston Villa.

England v Belgium - UEFA Nations League

(Photo by Ian Walton – Pool/Getty Images)

Henderson missed the game, as he had the Arsenal clash before it, with an injury picked up against Chelsea. Safe to say, Liverpool could have used him. The Reds lacked leadership, control of the midfield and were mentally fragile. All things the captain brings.

It’s worth noting that Henderson also missed the last time Liverpool struggled surprisingly. The 3-0 defeat against Watford last season – their first of that campaign – came when the captain wasn’t there.

He’s undeniably one of the most important players in the team and, along with Alisson and Virgil van Dijk, one of the few that keeps things disciplined.

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It’s vital that he’s back against Everton, then. The Toffees are sitting at the top of the league and look better than they have in, arguably, decades. With Liverpool desperately needing to bounce back from their defeat, it’s a massive game.

Fortunately, Liverpool and Henderson got what they needed on Sunday.

One step at a time

Henderson captained England against Belgium as the Three Lions ran out 2-1 winners. But to Liverpool, the result and how their captain played didn’t really matter.

The important thing is that he completed over an hour of football before going off on 66 minutes. That’s exactly what he needed to get back up to speed ahead of the Derby.

It’s unlikely that Jurgen Klopp will have expected his captain to play a full 90 at Goodison Park. Instead, he’d have hoped for an hour. So the fact Henderson has proven he can play an hour is fantastic news. The boss can be in no doubt that he’s ready to play.

England v Belgium - UEFA Nations League

(Photo by Ian Walton – Pool/Getty Images)

Even better, he played that hour in an intense game against one of the world’s best international teams. And on top of that, they featured one of the world’s best players in Kevin De Bruyne.

This was perfect, then. Henderson is ready for the Derby this weekend and that will be music to Liverpool’s ears.

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