Following in Steven Gerrard’s footsteps was always going to be a nearly impossible task for anyone at Liverpool football club. The football gods did Jordan Henderson no favors, sidelining him for long stretches of his first season with the armband, and conspiring to change managers midseason.
However, that new manager is Jürgen Klopp and he knows a thing or two about football. And he knows a few things about driven, hardworking players—traits which no one could reasonably accuse Hendo of lacking.
"What am I expecting from Jordan? Improvement," Klopp said, answering his own rhetorical question. "He is a wonderful skilled player and his attitude is outstanding. He always wants to work and work hard. He is still a young player, even though he has played a lot of games."
So what does "improvement" involve for Henderson specifically? According to Klopp he wants the players, Henderson included, to improve their decision making by playing as a team, and playing within themselves. He says that players feel a special sort of pressure to succeed at Liverpool, especially considering the team hasn’t had a great deal of success in recent years.
"It is about decision making - not to too often make the special things, just more what you need to do rather than what you want to do. A Liverpool player at a big club with not so much success in recent years is always doubted a little bit."
And in the most Jürgen Klopp advice ever, he reminded players to:
"Stay cool, try to play football, it is not that difficult. Not only for Jordan but for a lot of our players."
As captain, Henderson’s progress as a footballer was always going to be under a particularly strong microscope. Klopp is aware of this special scrutiny and doing what he can to help alleviate some of the pressure, and allow Hendo to have the confidence to do what he does best—run like crazy and boss the midfield. Hopefully we can see the "old" pre-injury Henderson get back to his honey badgering ways soon. Away to Spurs would be as good of a time as any.