The beginnings of the Jürgen Klopp era at Liverpool have been a treat for some in the squad and a struggle for others. Jordan Henderson, heir to the throne vacated by Steven Gerrard, is one such player who has been dissatisfied with his run of luck since the big German manager took over last fall. But, Henderson’s struggles, while troublesome to the player, have been brought about by several injuries he suffered in quick succession and have nothing to do with proving his worth in the team. In fact, Klopp sees much in Henderson and is grooming the captain to be Liverpool’s newest deep-lying, defensive midfielder.
“I have learned a lot in a very short space of time,” said Henderson. “I have played as the No. 6 or the deep-lying midfielder and I feel as time has gone on I have learned quickly and obviously the manager helps me on the training field.
“I feel I have progressed in that position and I feel comfortable there. It is not too dissimilar to what I did.”
Klopp and assistant Zeliko Buvac have worked extensively with Henderson to ensure he understands the position and what the coaching staff will demand from him. Whereas, in the past, the captain was regularly pushed forward during attacks, he will now be tasked with more of the responsibility of providing cover when the other boys are bombing on for glory.
“Being the No. 6 is more disciplined. When the team is going forward I am thinking more about protection and how I can help and what I need to do rather than running forward and getting in the box all the time.”
As always, Jordan Henderson believes in the team and what the team is capable of. He views himself as a student of the game. Always available to learn. Always available to urge the team on in the dressing room. Always available to do his bit of shouting on the pitch. This type of character, combined with a workable set of raw skills awards Jürgen Klopp all he needs to transform Henderson into, essentially, a midfield anything.
For now, the 26-year-old, England international is being shaped into a defensive specialist in the center of the park. And one gets the sense that Henderson will play there willingly and enthusiastically because, hey, it’s Jürgen Norbert Klopp, after all.
“We all believe in what the manager is trying to do. He’s very special on the training pitch and his team talks are unique. I think all the players buy into what he wants and what he is trying to do. If everyone does that we’ll go far.”
If the captain can stay fit this season, prepare to be amazed by a very talented, very ambitious player who should be operating at his peak under one of the best manager’s in football. Klopp springs eternal™.
Long live the Jordan Henderson Appreciation Society.