Jordan Henderson was finally named Steven Gerrard's successor on Friday, and though the new LA Galaxy man is an incredibly tough act to follow, Henderson's status as a good teammate, hard worker, and leader in the dressing room make him a good fit for the role. But that leaves his old position vacant and Brendan Rodgers is tasked — again — with selecting a new vice captain
The context for the selection is different this time out, with Rodgers not looking to find an eventual successor to a long serving legend. At twenty-five, Jordan Henderson is likely to be captain for the duration of the next phase of Liverpool's growth, and his vice captain won't have the same weight of expectation as Henderson himself would have felt when he stepped into the role last year.
The Front Runners
Though he was apparently top choice for the captaincy in an informal poll conducted by one of our readers of local Scousers, Liverpool's hard man expectedly lost out to the man who had been appointed vice captain last season. But Skrtel is once again in a fair position to receive a formal leadership role, having captained Slovakia in the past on the international stage and Liverpool on occasion when other choices were unavailable. Though he's not yet Liverpool's longest serving current player, his newly signed contract could make him an excellent candidate to deputize Henderson for a few years yet.
Mamadou Sakho is a fan favourite both on and off the pitch, and the Frenchman was lucky enough to have Brendan Rodgers finally come around to that same conclusion after a long and arduous dedication to playing Dejan Lovren over Sakho even when it defied logic. Sakho's lack of playing time and occasionally confusing relationship with Rodgers could work against him, but there's no doubting the former PSG captain's pedigree when it comes to being a leader for his teammates.
Though he was often played out of position and lacks both age and experience, Emre Can quickly won over fans in his debut season. Can himself has already spoken about wanting to play a leadership role at the club, and by selecting a (very!) young vice captain to work with a still-pretty-young-himself captain, Brendan Rodgers could set up a leadership team for Liverpool FC for the next five to ten years. Can receiving the vice captaincy over some of his more seasoned and longer serving colleagues would ruffle feathers, but Rodgers has to be looking forward to the future of his team rather than backwards.
The Dark Horses
Lucas Leiva was classified as a dark horse last season, and the only reason he remains so this season is the exact same problem that plagued him the season before: the chronic teetering on the edge of a move elsewhere. Lucas' deputy skills are widely regarded to be one of the key ingredients in the social glue that holds much of the team together, but with his future in red so frequently called into question it's hard to imagine he'd get selected over a more long-term option.
Former Southampton captain and current England international Adam Lallana would certainly double the English leadership quotient should he be made vice captain. An injury early in the season derailed his bedding in period last year, but the vote of confidence given to him by his manager should he ascend to the vice captaincy could significantly help him get off on the right foot this time around.
James Milner has yet to kick a football for his new club, but the midfielder brings with him age, experience, and a
boring stable influence that would be fitting of Jordan Henderson's second in command. It's certainly a long shot since new players are rarely given immediate honours of this sort, but Milner is so neutral a personality that it's hard to see his appointment making waves should it happen.