Video: Jordan Henderson v. Wigan

Clive Brunskill

Jose Enrique and Luis Suarez were most influential on the scoresheet, but Jordan Henderson was the focus of Brendan Rodgers' tactical gamble, and for the first time in a Premier League match this season, he looked like he belonged.

There's the requisite Mostar compilations for both Luis Suarez and Jose Enrique, and on a day like yesterday, our follow-up video post could have focused on either of those two. Suarez was at his best yet again, mostly in the second half, and continued to turn the tide of opinion that's had him previously labeled as a wonderful creator but someone who can't possibly finish on a consistent basis. And Enrique's just as deserving--as if our video post is some sort of honor--after turning in his best display since the early part of last season, one that came further up the left side in a more attacking role, where I'd guess he's spent very little time during his senior career.

So watch those and marvel at the finishing, and the technique, and the moments that ostensibly won the match given that both were intricately involved in each. The involvement of Jordan Henderson, however, proved to be something that most credited with Liverpool winning the match, even if those giving said credit didn't point the young midfielder out by name.

Just after the thirty-minute mark on Saturday, Brendan Rodgers decided to take off Suso, who had earned his first start in a central midfield role, one to which he'd appeared to great effect as a substitute against Chelsea last Sunday. It was a warmly welcomed selection by Rodgers, and while most of Liverpool's eleven stuttered through the opening, the young Spaniard was bright and composed, again looking right at home just off the forward line.

All of which conspired to make the decision to bring Suso off for Henderson more confusing--most figured injury, but after halftime it was confirmed that the switch was indeed tactical. It didn't reap immediate benefits, and most, if not all, saw the change as disappointing. That includes yours truly, and I think that I'm about as vocal a Jordan Henderson supporter as you'll find. It seemed a gamble, particularly with Henderson's confidence teetering on the brink of being catastrophic for his Liverpool career during the loss to Anzhi.

But yesterday he proved to be just what the club needed, with an active, tireless display that hinged on increasing the pressure, linking play aggressively, and alleviating some of the pressure that was building on Joe Allen, both during the previous 35 minutes and most of the season to this point. Henderson was a perfect fit, and while he didn't contribute directly to any of Liverpool's three goals, he was integral to the improvements that cemented Liverpool's dominance in the second half.

It was an important day for both player and manager. For Henderson, the oft-maligned midfielder who so many are so quick to judge a bust, it showed that there's a role for him to play at Liverpool. Other matches might call for something different, but he was exactly what was needed today, and hopefully he can only push forward from here. For Rodgers, as I mentioned in the recap, it was the killing stroke of the myth that he's too tactically rigid to be successful. We've seen evidence to the contrary already this season, but today, in the face of so many doubts and derisory comments about his decision-making, he got it right, and it gave Liverpool the chance to push on and get the win.

Nothing was solved yesterday, and it certainly didn't secure the futures of either Jordan Henderson or Brendan Rodgers. But there's positive indications for both that there's successes on the horizon, and at least for now that's a welcomed feeling.

Video by YNWAEdits via Youtube

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