With Joe Allen sidelined and Daniel Sturridge struggling either for form or fitness, Brendan Rodgers decided to hand Jordan Henderson his first start since the second leg of the tie with Zenit in the Europa League. Nobody's been able to make sense of Brendan Rodgers' decision to leave him out after a string of such positive displays, but for the player's part he's been remarkably positive in the interim, focusing only on how he'd be able to help the club when he was finally afforded the opportunity.
Sunday saw that opportunity arrive, and while he didn't cure all of the ills that have ailed Liverpool's midfield--Lucas was far off the pace and Steven Gerrard struggled for most of the first forty-five--he did manage to be one of the club's brightest on the day, providing the energy that we've come to expect while also drawing the club level with a composed, classy finish.
The ball from Philippe Coutinho could be watched on loop for most of the day; the Brazilian calmly gathered Gerrard's long pass on the left, let a few defenders rush past him, and then played Henderson into acres of space down the middle. Coutinho's vision was superb, and the finish by the young English midfielder was calculated, placed just-so past one of the Premier League's form goalkeepers to bring Liverpool back into the match.
He tired late, as did most of the squad that took part in internationals over the past few weeks, but there's simply not a compelling argument to keep Jordan Henderson out of the starting lineup. He brings better balance, better energy, and an overall willingness to do just about anything he's asked. He might not do the dribbling or the tackling that vamps it up, but he's someone that makes Liverpool a better side, and he's deserving of more time over the season's final months.
Video by MrBoyWunder