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Klopp Talk: Sorry For Playing Henderson as a Holding Midfielder

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Jurgen Klopp offers an “apology” in classic Kloppo style over playing Hendo out of position for the last two years.

Liverpool v Porto - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final: First Leg Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

For the last two years, give or take, Jurgen Klopp has had to make due with Jordan Henderson as a number six, or holding midfielder. It’s not Henderson’s best position, but equally, he has the skill, game intelligence, passing range, and energy to make Klopp’s demanding system work—no small feat!

With the signing and integration of Fabinho, a more “natural” fit for the six, over the course of this campaign, Kloppo now has the option of playing the captain as a more attack-minded midfielder. We saw it this weekend when Henderson came on to great effect, contributing a goal and assist, both firsts for this campaign. And again, we saw it last night.

“Hendo’s a brilliant player, I’m really happy that he can show that again. He likes the position obviously,” Kloppo said post match.

”It was my fault that for one-and-a-half years he played as a number six. Sorry for that!

“But we needed him there. It was a really good performance.”

Classic Klopp, this. Obviously the Liverpool boss is happy to play Henderson in his preferred position, but happier to play the captain where the team needs him the most. For the last two years, that has mostly been in the six.

Once again, Henderson’s involvement directly led to a goal, this time with the pass that played Trent Alexander-Arnold into the box, allowing the fullback to square it for an easy Roberto Firmino tap in at the back stick.

“It would be cool if I could ask a player to please play these kind of passes, and we score immediately!

“The second goal was brilliant, but he had the cross for Sadio’s ‘goal’ as well. It was a brilliant cross. I like that.”

This box-to-box role for Hendo is far more reminiscent of his early Liverpool career, including his outstanding campaign in our last title chase in 2013/14. However, his fitness and mobility has been limited by flair ups of plantar fasciitis, which is now (knock on all the wood) hopefully under control.

If Henderson is returning to this more attacking position for the run in, it will be yet another thing to worry defenses beyond our already deadly front three.