There's a bit of a split when it comes to thoughts about Jordan Henderson's best position on the pitch--those who have seen him flourish for Stuart Pearce's U21 side have seen him dictate play from a deeper-lying role in central midfield, while others seem to think that a more advanced role similar to where he's featured for Liverpool of late is his best fit. I'm not necessarily in favor of one over the other so long as he's playing, though even if he ostensibly starts in a wider role, the latter allows for his energy to get him into the box more regularly, and as we saw yesterday, he's capable of exploiting space and arriving late to provide an outlet.
His confidence and decision-making in the final third is still a major area of growth, as he started the season about as low on self-belief in front of goal as is possible for a player who's been involved in top-flight football for years. He's steadily grown in that regard this season, and yesterday saw him score twice in one game for the first time in his Liverpool career.
For his first he was the beneficiary of an unselfish pass from former U21 teammate Daniel Sturridge, and he had a chance later in the match to repay the favor, further developing an understanding that Henderson says has been in the works:
"Daniel is a top player. I played with him before he signed for us with England U21s quite a few times so I know what he's all about. He's got great movement, he's got great technical ability and he's been brilliant since he came here."
"It was a brilliant pass from Daniel to find me. When you are through one-on-one you might think you will shoot yourself but he saw I was in a better position and he gave me the goal with a great pass. It was nice to repay him with a similar situation in the second half for Daniel's goal."
Sturridge was certainly near top form yesterday, showing few signs of the rust or lack of fitness that had marred his performances leading up to his dominant display during the early part of the second half against Chelsea. He wasn't quite to that level yesterday, but he gave a shaky Newcastle back line even more cause for concern beyond their own incompetence, and took both of his goals with the type of confidence for which he's become known.
The run-in should hopefully see the strengthening of a link-up between not only Henderson and Sturridge, but Philippe Coutinho and Stewart Downing as well--obviously the former was vastly more impressive yesterday afternoon, but Downing did well to provide two assists and has shown steady improvement in his role on the right wing.
As has often been the case this season, we aren't really left with any sort of conclusions to draw other than that there's quite a few positive signs for this Liverpool side--with or without the league's second-leading goalscorer--and now it's just a matter of putting it together with more consistency.