With a cooly taken goal to open Liverpool's scoring in the second half against Manchester City last night, midfielder Jordan Henderson showed a part of his game that wasn't often on display last season. Despite his industriousness and the indispensable role he played elsewhere on the pitch, at times Henderson could seem less than comfortable with the ball at his feet in the box.
Here he showed no discomfort and no hesitation, and when Daniel Sturridge stumbled under a challenge and the ball fell to him, Henderson curled it past Joe Hart's outstretched hand, bulging the right side-netting. It's something he's hoping to do more often this season, both as part of his continuing development and to help make up for the goals lost when Luis Suarez departed.
"Definitely," he said when asked if his expectations in front of goal were elevated for the coming season. "I've got to chip in with more goals from midfield—as much as I can—so hopefully I can do a lot more of that this season. I think Sturridge got in well after a good ball from Philippe, then it just fell to me and I managed to hit it on target—fortunately it went it."
Henderson may talk of hope and fortune, but with Suarez gone, it will fall to players like Philippe Coutinho, Raheem Sterling, and Henderson himself to pick up the scoring slack for a side that managed over 100 goals last season. And for manager Brendan Rodgers, it's more than an issue of hope and fortune when it comes to goals and Henderson—it's an issue of expectation.
"That's the objective for Jordan," said Rodgers when asked about the indefatigable midfielder's second half goal last night. "The finish he produced to get the equaliser, he does that day in and day out in training. He's a player that is so fit and strong, and he's such a team player—he does a lot of unselfish work. This year, we're asking him to get into the box more often.
"I would expect him to be getting up to 10 goals this season because he has the quality and the tactical awareness to arrive into the area and do that sort of thing."
- Breaking Down Brendan Rodgers' Two New Formations From the Manchester City Match
- Rodgers: "We've Still Got Some Business to Do"
- Manchester City 2, Liverpool 2 (pen. 1-3): Raheem Sterling Does it Again
- Rumour Mongering: Borini to Sunderland Back On
- No New Contract Yet, But Gerrard Not Worried About the Future