After beating Manchester City in a 4-3 thriller, Liverpool stumbled against bottom-half opposition, losing 1-0 to Swansea in the league and then 3-2 to West Brom in the FA Cup. In both matches, the midfield was a problem. Liverpool’s trio in the centre lacked control and rhythm on the ball and were too easily bypassed off it.
It took until late in the second half against West Brom for things to start to improve, and that only happened with the introduction of Jordan Henderson as he returned from injury. Despite that, one can still find questions and criticism about the Liverpool captain. Former skipper Steven Gerrard says that comes with the territory.
“The armband comes with big pressure and big responsibility,” Gerrard said to the club’s official website when asked about the player who took the armband when he left. “Jordan probably gets judged differently to every other player—I did when I played. You don’t see that as being unfair, you just have to take it on the chin.”
Just as many fans saw the difference between Liverpool with Henderson at the base of midfield and without it against West Brom and felt it showed his importance to the side—even if he won’t often be noticed for putting in flashy performances—so too did Gerrard, who believes Henderson brings needed balance to this team.
”I think we’re a better team with him in the XI,” Gerrard added. “I think he brings an awful lot to the game that I appreciate as a midfielder. It’s one of these things, from game to game people change their opinions, it’s just part and parcel of being a player in this day and age with the social media and attention on every single position.”
More pressure and more criticism—especially for a captain of a big club like Liverpool. It comes with the territory, and the way social media gives a voice to everyone probably does intensify that. It does at least seem inarguable, though, that this Liverpool side are better with Henderson in the six than without him.