In the midst of despair against Watford FC, one Liverpool player produced a winning performance. Often it is said that captains need to cajole, encourage, communicate, and appear to have the most character during battle. There are, however, many ways to lead. Perhaps not all of them lead to Rome or to some zenith in a far off place, but simple and effective leadership is not appreciated as often as it should be. The approach of Jordan Henderson appears to be by example and application. He will stick up for his colleagues when the occasion requires it, but for a side in need of consistency, Henderson might be the ideal captain of the Klopp era.
Surprise league leaders Leicester City were defeated at Anfield, and while Dejan Lovren was the best player on the pitch, Henderson continued to excel in midfield. Passes were accurate and effective over a variety of distances, blades of grass were covered with zeal, and a solid partnership was forged with the precocious Emre Can. Jürgen Klopp hailed the return of his captain
He was strong, he’s getting his rhythm, it's very important he can stay in this rhythm after his third game back. He was good at Watford too, it was not easy to look good in Watford but he was. Now next step against Leicester, he was really dominant and the first time since I’ve been here that we played in a 4-4-2 Hendo and Emre together, parts of both with offensive ideas. If you have these two players, a six or the eight, one of them has to protect our offensive zone. Sometimes we had to have a little conversation, they needed help from outside to say ‘please now, the other one is in the box so wait’. But it was really good and I hope he stays fit and he will help us of course, he’s high quality player.
Liverpool keeping a clean sheet without Lucas Leiva is heartening as well as the potential of a midfield partnership between a 25-year-old and a 21-year old. Liverpool will need further depth and quality in midfield along with the continued presence of Lucas, but a fully fit Henderson has to figure prominently in any midfield arrangement. The captain has always had an excellent fitness record before his struggles with plantar fasciitis this year. He played through great discomfort throughout most of the year but hopefully will be able to manage for the remainder of the season and beyond.