Shay Given applauded Jordan Henderson show the leadership he showed against Southampton tonight. The captain shone as a substitute.
Liverpool scraped past Southampton tonight with a 2-1 win at St Mary’s. It wasn’t easy – far from it, in fact, as Jurgen Klopp rang the changes with his starting XI.
The Reds, after all, were only three days out from an intense 120 minutes in the FA Cup final. Klopp clearly needed fresh legs for this one and made nine changes from Saturday.
One of those left out was Jordan Henderson, fresh from lifting the FA Cup. The captain had to enter the fray at half-time, however, after an injury to Joe Gomez.
Henderson walked into a game that Liverpool struggled to control. They’d fallen behind early but did strike back with an equaliser thanks to Takumi Minamino. Still, they were short of the win they needed in order to take the title race to the final day.
They found their winner in the second half as Joel Matip somehow diverted the ball into the corner of the net. It was a well-deserved goal as Liverpool controlled the latter 45 – and Henderson was a huge part of that.
Jordan Henderson shows Liverpool leadership
“We talked about his leadership before the game and there was control when he came on,” Shay Given told Premier League Productions of Henderson’s performance. “With [James] Milner moving to right-back, you can see Henderson organising and pulling people, talking to people and some of the younger players.
“Like [Harvey] Elliott and [Curtis] Jones in front of him – telling them to push on and be a bit more offensive.
“He gives you that calmness. People talk about him being that great leader in the dressing room but he has to be great on the pitch as well. Again, he brought that tonight. Nice calmness, no panic and got the job done in the second half.”
Henderson came on and delivered exactly what Liverpool needed. They had far more control with their captain in the middle – as shown by him completing 54 passes in that second 45. He did that at a 92% success rate, too, in a wonderful display.
He threw in two tackles (from two attempts) on top of that, in fact, in a brilliant all-around display. Liverpool weren’t thriving before he came on but Henderson made sure they dominated the ball and the pitch as they sought a winner.