Jordan Henderson has made it clear he is more than capable of sacrificing himself for the betterment of the team by covering in central defence at Liverpool.
The club-captain has previously stepped up to the mark in the past and could be asked to do it again when Liverpool take on West Ham at the weekend.
David Moyes’ team are in fine form following a shaky start to the Premier League campaign. After back-to-back defeats, West Ham are unbeaten in their previous four league matches and have already taken points from the likes of Manchester City, Tottenham, Leicester and Wolves.
Jürgen Klopp isn’t exactly spoilt for choice when it comes to defensive options going into Saturday’s tie.
Virgil van Dijk could be out for the season following a ruptured ACL after he tangled with Jordan Pickford in the Merseyside Derby.
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Joel Matip is sidelined with a muscle problem after completing his first 90 minutes for the club in over 12 months against Everton. The Cameroonian defender had a scan the following day and has subsequently missed Liverpool’s previous three matches.
Fabinho pulled up with a hamstring problem in the Champions League tie with FC Midtjylland on Tuesday night to make matters even worse for Klopp. The Brazilian is expected to be back after the international break at the earliest.
This leaves the boss with a difficult choice to make: who starts alongside his only experienced central defensive option, Joe Gomez on Saturday?
Henderson, 30, filled in at centre back in December 2019 during the FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar. Jurgen Klopp was down to the bare minimum defensively with both Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren out on the sidelines injured.
Virgil van Dijk was rested for the all-important semi-final clash against Mexican side Monterrey meaning Henderson was called to partner Joe Gomez in defence – a scenario that could unfold again on Saturday.
Liverpool ran out 2-1 winners thanks to goals from Naby Keita and Roberto Firmino with the skipper putting in a composed and assured display alongside his fellow countryman and international teammate Gomez.
Speaking after the victory, Henderson was full of praise for his team-mates in helping him cope with the transition.
“That was different,” Henderson joked. “I had fantastic players around me, and they helped me out. It was different to anything that I have been used to. I’ve played at full-back, but I’ve never played there before.”
Henderson didn’t rule out the possibility of playing there again for his team if his presence at the back was absolutely necessary.
“I just tried to do my best for the team and thankfully we got the win,” added.
“I don’t know what will happen with Virgil on Saturday. Fingers crossed he will be okay.
“Of course, if the manager needed me to go there again, I would do it. It is anything to help the team.”
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Henderson’s comment epitomises the captain’s selfless attitude and personifies why the England midfielder has become the embodiment of Klopp’s ‘mentality monsters’.
Time-and-time again, he is willing to sacrifice his own game for the benefit of the team. It is one of several reasons why he was crowned the Football Writers Association’s Player of the Year last season.
Klopp could still choose to utilise Henderson in midfield and instead partner Gomez alongside 19-year-old Rhys Williams.
In the space of a week, the Liverpool teenager has clocked up two Champions League appearances and put in an accomplished performance at Anfield in midweek.
Off the back of his display against FC Midtjylland, we think Williams has done enough to warrant a start against West Ham and is deserving of a Premier League debut at the weekend.
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