It's Transfer Deadline Day and if you're honest all you want to know is if Liverpool will ever get a deal over the line for Yevhen Konoplyanka and whether or not the Babelcopter will be sent to spirit away Yann M'Vila or Romulo and deposit them outside Melwood, bedecked in one of the club's myriad of magnificently awful training tops, for some eleventh hour leaning and a creepy photo session with Doctor Zaf. Well, gentle reader, dampen your ardour, for you will find no such titillation here.
The purpose of this brief piece is to provide beleaguered Reds with some much needed respite from the histrionics of the January sales, and how better to do so than by celebrating a wonderful talent that has been mightily impressive in red all season? Jordan Henderson, for it is he, has emerged as possibly the most essential cog in Brendan Rodgers' evolving machine. In a number of roles, selflessly adapting on demand, the dynamic Sunderland native has provided drive, intensity, forward momentum and defensive solidity, whilst always maintaining a tidiness in possession and an eye for an incisive pass.
Simply put, Henderson is the most complete midfielder at the club and quite frankly, he has made himself indispensable to his manager. Nobody else can offer his unique combination of discipline, tactical awareness and technique. That these traits are allied to the kind of work rate that would embarrass a team of huskies, is the clinching factor. At one point, a game attitude and earnest industry were all some folk believed Henderson could bring Liverpool Football Club. Now, however, that brio and verve are only two more delightful features of the young midfielder's game.
Yes, Jordan will run all day, but if you imply that headless business is all the tonsorially talented wonder brings to the table, then I'm afraid your hair gel has started to run into your eyes, in a way that Henderson himself, with his rigidly sculpted thatch would never allow. This lad is a player - a player that can finally come out from behind the sofa when belligerent types are discussing his much vaunted £16m+ transfer fee. Is there anyone with a semi-functioning noggin who would argue that Jordan Henderson is not now in that kind of bracket? Ask yourself what would you expect LFC to receive were he to be moved on. See?
One of Henderson's most impressive attributes is his mental fortitude. How else can one explain his very presence in the side, given the amount of hurdles he has had to leap? A target for the quick-to-judge and the mealy-mouthed in his early days, the young England man has had to survive being shunted around most positions on the field and the indignity of being considered unessential enough to be a makeweight in a deal for rapping sensation, Clint Dempsey.
Thankfully, the kinetic and mettlesome midfielder survived and yet he remains admirably humble and free of bitterness. Upon being asked if the fans might consider him the most improved Liverpool player, Henderson was a model of calm modesty.
"Obviously it's a compliment but it's what my aim is every time I play -- and that is to improve," he averred in an interview with LFC TV''s #LFCWORLD programme. "That's all I'm trying to do and I'm training every day and coming to work to try and improve and become a better player, so I'd have to take that as a compliment if that was the case. With the staff and the players around us I can definitely become a better player here, so I've just got to keep working hard and hopefully carry on improving."
The midfielder is honest enough to admit that praise from his manager has boosted his morale and insists that there is a shared sense of belief amongst his colleagues under Brendan Rodgers.
"It is important -- it gives you more confidence if you know everybody else is confident when you go on the pitch," he said. "We all have belief in each other as a team and our teammates and you can see that when we play every week. I think you can see everyone is together, we believe in each other and we give each other confidence. It's one thing I've always been taught really, when I was young, is to always give your best no matter what. I know sometimes you might not play as well as you want to every week but the minimum you can do is to give 100 per cent and work hard for the team, so that's what I try to do."
Belief, confidence, ability, drive, passion, energy and hair gel. Jordan Henderson, ladies and gentlemen. What a guy.