Yes, he has a “distinct” run. Yes, his voice seems too deep somehow and we wonder if it’s something we should be worried about. And yes, he isn’t Steven Gerrard. But he did apprentice under Stevie and learned about all the “fuck off”’s he would need to be a strong Liverpool captain. The Jordan Henderson Appreciation Society wasn’t something we asked for, it was thrust upon us. And the captaincy, well, that was a surprise. But Henderson takes to the role naturally, approaches it professionally, and accepts that he still has to earn his place in the starting eleven just like everybody else.
Henderson is also obviously an admirer of Jürgen Klopp’s particular style of football—that high-octane attack, recover, repeat—and has given his manager the gift of being flexible and reliable. Turns out those are Klopp’s favorite things.
In fact, it could be that Jordan Henderson was more excited than anyone to hear that Jürgen Klopp was to become the next Liverpool manager back in 2015. The captain was in attendance five years ago at the Bernabeu to witness Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund hang on against Real Madrid to win their Champions League semi-final 4-3 on aggregate.
“I knew he was special before I even started working with him,” said Henderson. “His team was outstanding that night in Madrid.”
“Although they lost the final against Bayern Munich at Wembley, as a team they were exceptional. You could see how organised they were, how hard they worked for each other. A lot of that was down to Jürgen Klopp.
“A lot of people admired his work at Dortmund and when he came to Liverpool I knew how special he would be. I couldn’t wait to start working with him in training and be part of something special. And I still feel the team he is building at Anfield can be very special in the near future.”
Henderson is also describing the vibe around Melwood and his pride in what all the players are a part of at Liverpool as he remembers Klopp’s Dortmund. A well-organised team that work hard for each other. A team with unity that is preached by the manager as a necessity, as an important aspect to success. There can be no passengers and so everyone on the pitch must be flexible and reliable.
That’s worked fairly well so far this season barring a few setbacks. But most of the badness seems to have been ironed out, knock on wood, as Liverpool have been more resolute defensively and scored quite a few goals in the latest stretch. West Ham United gave up four. FC Porto famously conceded five in a high-stakes match, on their home turf, when they were unbeaten in twenty-four games. Woof.
The second leg at Anfield should be an administrative affair on Liverpool’s journey towards the Champions League final. Klopp’s team will have to be mentally prepared though for a Porto side that will want whatever face-saving goals they can get, but the Liverpool captain is bullish on his team going the distance in Europe.
“Let’s take nothing for granted,” said Henderson, “because we have to finish the job in the second leg against Porto next week, but there are not many teams who would want to draw Liverpool at the minute.
“We’re confident that we’re capable of beating anyone if we play well.”
All comers will be met with strength. All will speak of our victories. All are welcome into the Jordan Henderson Appreciation Society.