Liverpool FC v Ajax Amsterdam: Group D - UEFA Champions League
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3 key passes; Jordan Henderson returned with ideal performance vs Ajax

Jordan Henderson returned to Liverpool’s starting XI vs Ajax on Tuesday. The captain delivered the ideal performance to help the Reds to a 1-0 win.

Jordan Henderson was great vs Ajax. It was his first start since before the international break and the £20m man delivered exactly what Liverpool needed.

This was a big game, after all, and one Liverpool really needed to win. Victory didn’t just mean qualification but a rest in a week when they face FC Midtjylland.

Jurgen Klopp went as strong as he could, then. Yes, teenagers played but the squad is so thin right now that they’re first-choice players.

A strong team meant Henderson starting in the middle, too. And the captain put in an ideal performance.

Solid as a rock

The three highlights of Henderson’s performance were that Ajax didn’t dribble past him once, that he won three interceptions, and that he created three chances – the most in the game (all stats per Whoscored).

Altogether, that’s the dream performance from a Liverpool midfielder, especially in a game as big as this one.

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Henderson delivered the necessary creativity from the middle, constantly looking long in behind to find the front-three.

But at the same time, he stopped counter-attacks. That could have been through interceptions or simply not letting dribblers past him – either way, he pulled it off.

Liverpool went on to win the game 1-0, of course. It was a tight affair and that demanded a lot from the team’s most versatile players.

Photo by Jon Super – Pool/Getty Images

The Reds needed to score but the struggling forwards demanded a clean-sheet, too. Thus Henderson, holding the team together in the middle, had to help on both counts.

That’s what makes his performance so ideal. Whatever Liverpool needed, Henderson delivered – which about sums up his importance at Anfield.

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