When one's team is sitting proudly atop the Premier League, it can seem churlish to whine about the things that are not going well. Yesterday's performance was far from perfect and Liverpool, the league leaders, have yet to string together two consistently good halves of football, but for the first time in quite a while, there can be few complaints about the central midfield department. This is not, alas, because of any notable surge in the standard of Steven Gerrard's contribution but rather because he was partnered in the engine room by the human perpetual motion machine that is Jordan Henderson.
Simply put, the young man was phenomenal. His limitless energy was married to a dogged tenacity in the tackle, a relentless will to close down the opposition and a delightful crispness of passing. He was what Lucas Leiva has previously been and hopefully will be again. In the humble opinion of this scribbler, Henderson's outstanding display proved that he and the Brazilian are the duo Liverpool need driving the team forward. Their skill sets would be perfect for this new and vibrant Liverpool side and Brendan Rodgers is now faced with a crucial decision.
Henderson bestrode the Anfield pitch with a poise and calm assurance that belied his few starts in the centre for the club. To anyone who has seen him captain the England Under 21s from the same position, there will have been little surprise in his assuredness. It was a pleasure to watch the efficiency of the Sunderland native as he pinged passes and dictated the play in a manner reminiscent of Xabi Alonso, whilst allying this finesse to the incessant effort that has marked every Henderson performance in red and won dubious and recalcitrant fans around.
It would be impossibly smug at this point to bask in the reflected glow of Henderson's tour de force performance whilst saying I told you so or pointing to previously articulated arguments -- so in the interests of decorum, I shall eschew such behaviour and instead ask you to wallow with me in the warm and fuzzy feeling that comes over one whilst watching a compilation, courtesy of the marvellous @MrBoywunder, of all Henderson's fine contributions to the win that lifted Liverpool Football Club to the top of the league.