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Fabinho’s Midfield Dominance Provides Creative Space for Henderson

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With a midfield enforcer on the books, the Liverpool captain asked Jürgen Klopp to give him opportunities further up the pitch.

Southampton FC v Liverpool FC - Premier League Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

When Jürgen Klopp took up the helm at Liverpool, Jordan Henderson became a deep lying midfielder. He’s had to adapt to the role over several seasons but the squad would have to wait for a proper DM to arrive and Henderson was always going to be the man on the roster to fill the space in the meantime.

But the squad has changed dramatically since Klopp initially became manager of the club. Henderson isn’t the only guy available to play the part of defensive midfielder or deep-lying playmaker anymore. No, the ex-Sunderland man and Damien Comolli’s last remaining link to Liverpool, saw an opportunity arising with the new breadth of midfielders at Melwood and prepared a captain to manager professionally powerpointed presentation maybe that outlined Henderson’s proposal to take up more attacking positions in the future.

“Me and the gaffer just had a conversation,” Henderson said.

“I don’t think the manager had thought about it too much until I mentioned it to him. It was something that he said he would think about.

“The manager might not have seen me in that position too much. Obviously he’d seen the England games, I felt good in the England games playing in that position.

“I felt more comfortable and natural in that position, creating chances further up and doing what I enjoy doing. At the same time when I played No.6, I felt I’ve learned that position really well and if I need to play there I can do a job there.

“I can do both positions and he sees that I can do both. It’s basically about what he wants and needs from the team. In certain games he might want me to play deeper.

“For me as a captain and as a player at this football club, I always put the team first. I do whatever the manager tells me to do really.

“But when we had the conversation I felt that I could speak my mind. I want to contribute as much as I can to the team. I feel as though I can do that more in a further forward position.”

Henderson has made himself a crucial asset to the team under ever manager he’s played for at Liverpool. But Fabinho has arrived on the scene and perhaps it is time to let the honey badger loose, free to create the kind of beautiful mayhem it craves.

“In the last couple of years there hasn’t really been a player like Fabinho in that role so I’ve had to adapt to it,” said Henderson.

“I think I’ve done quite well. I think if you look at Fab, it’s quite natural to him. That’s his position and he’s so good at what you need to do in that position.

“I just thought that might give me a bit more licence to get forward more at times but you never know. The manager wants me in both positions which is good for me and for the team.”

Henderson’s versatility is another one of his crucial assets. After two solid showings against FC Porto and Southampton, where he registered a goal and an assist, Henderson is clearly delighted at keeping Xherdan Shaqiri out of the team. And just in case you never imagined a surrealistic battle between a Power Cube and Honey Badger, you’re welcome.