Jordan Henderson limped—often literally—through his first full campaign as Liverpool’s skipper. Multiple injuries dogged the previously indestructible Honey Badger, and his form dipped. Coming into the 2016/17 season, some questioned whether Henderson should retain the armband, or whether he should remain at Liverpool at all.
Six games, thirteen points, and one glorious belter of a game winning goal at Stamford Bridge later, Henderson’s critics have largely backed off the captain.
And Hendo’s efforts have not gone unnoticed by some stat heads; Liverpool’s midfielder currently leads the league in passes, and by a wide margin. Henderson has completed 499 passes so far this campaign, nearly 100 more than Leicester City’s Danny Drinkwater who has completed 403. Arsenal’s Santi Carzorla (399), Everton’s Idrissa Gueye (398), and Manchester City’s Fernandinho (396) round out the top 5. Fellow Liverpool teammates Geoginio Wijnaldum (331) and James Milner (329) also crack the top 20 at 16th and 17th, respectively.
Part of this is explained by Henderson’s position on the pitch as the deepest of the three central midfielders, a position, it must be noted, isn’t one he has typically taken up throughout his career. Even Jürgen Klopp joked about it.
"Look how Hendo played the ‘6’ where a lot of people, I think, were pretty sure he cannot play a holding position and he is,” Klopp remarked after the 5-1 defeat of Hull City.
Still, it’s an impressive stat, especially considering the distance he’s put on the rest of the league.