In the run up to this season and after a less than stellar first season after being given the armband, a lot of questions surrounded Jordan Henderson and whether or not he was fit to lead the team. Us here at TLO tried to answer the question. Even over halfway through the campaign, the question still can stir up a debate over whether or not he’s worthy. Ultimately the decision isn’t up to any of us and Hendo has proven himself (at least to this writer) time and again worthy of the large boots that needed to be filled.
And then January happened and questions of his leadership skills began to reappear. Of his presence on the pitch and why couldn’t he elevate our team, our lads, out of the mediocre spell they found themselves in? Why wasn’t he pulling everyone up by the scruffs of their necks and forcing those victories? Jason McAteer himself said recently Henderson might be “too nice.”
Or maybe leaders come in many forms, shapes, and styles, and Henderson prefers to take a more behind the scenes approach. Adam Lallana, fellow midfielder and appointed bestie bro of the captain, recently spoke to The Telegraph about the most recent effort to give the squad a fighting chance - even without the knowledge of Jürgen Klopp.
“It was the team captain who got us together. He wanted it to happen,” explained Lallana. “We knew as players we had to take responsibility. It was up to us to respond. The manager can say as much as he likes and tell us what he wants us to do and what attitude he wants us to have, but we have to do it.
“Credit to Jordan for calling the meeting, credit to everyone for participating and credit to everyone for performing. It wasn’t just him who spoke, the senior players spoke, the non-senior players, everyone. It was good, and refreshing.”
While not uncommon, and certainly not at Liverpool, hearing about the kind of closed door and open air discussion between the players - unprompted by the managerial staff, even - is definitely refreshing, and it clearly paid off as the Reds earned a victory yesterday.
“The minute we have a couple of bad results, we are going to keep on answering critics and proving people wrong,” continued Lallana. “But losing together can help you in the long run. This run we have been on has brought us closer. It is not one individual against the press or whoever is saying bad things. Let’s dig deep when we have to. It was good.
“We didn’t have any excuses in January and there were no excuses for our performance against Hull and no excuses for not beating Swansea at home. It is about us proving to everyone that we don’t just perform against the top teams.
“We know we need to be more consistent. The way we performed here was remarkable.”
Due in no small part, surely, to Henderson’s captaining methods. As supporters we can only hope to be flies on the wall to the inner workings of the club, only getting as close as the press is allowed, but credit needs to be given where credit is due. The chance to speak openly to each other about what was expected of them opened much needed communication between the players and it came with a result. And granted, one good result does not a captain make, but nobody is more about turning doubters into believers than Henderson. (Okay maybe one guy).