With Daniel Agger going home to Brondby and Lucas Leiva finding it increasingly difficult to make the matchday squad, the question of who would be named Liverpool's vice-captain for the coming season had been in the back of many fans' minds since the season began. For most, though, there was never really any doubt that the answer would be Jordan Henderson.
"Jordan is someone who represents the best values of what we are all about both as a team and a club," said Brendan Rodgers today when he confirmed that the energetic 24-year-old midfielder had been selected to be the club's vice-captain for the coming season. "Both he and Steven are examples to others in how they conduct themselves both on and off the pitch."
Arriving in the summer of 2011 for a hefty £16M fee, Henderson at first struggled to make his mark at the club and win over some sections of the fanbase. Given he was only 21 years of age and often played out of position in his first season at the club, that he struggled to make an impact at times perhaps shouldn't have been a surprise. And all along, it was clear the talent was there.
So too was the perseverance that has now made him the only real choice for the vice-captain role as Liverpool head back into Europe for the first time in five years. He may not be the one to do the flashy things in the attacking third, but he's the one who makes Liverpool's midfield run, and when he's missing or off his game the impact on the rest of the team is impossible to ignore.
Having come into his own last season as the man whose hard work makes Liverpool work, he now rightly will take on the role of captain any time Steven Gerrard isn't on the pitch. There was never any doubt, really. But it's still nice to have it officially confirmed ahead of tomorrow's Champions League kickoff against Ludogorets at Anfield.
"It's another great story for Jordan in his journey as a Liverpool player, and it shows the great progress he has made," added Rodgers. "For club and country he holds himself really well, he's got great stature, and I believe he will be an important player here for years to come."