Are Jordan Henderson’s days numbered at LFC?

With the imminent arrival of Fabinho and Naby Keita, Klopp’s options at number 6 and 8 just increased (and improved) tenfold but where does that leave our current captain?

Hendo started his LFC career playing on the right side of midfield in King Kenny’s painfully average, British based squad that contained the likes of Stewart Downing, Charlie Adam and Andy Carroll (shudder) and to say our current skipper’s performances were underwhelming, would be something of an understatement. So poor was he in fact, that Brendan Rodgers tried to use him as a makeweight in a deal with Fulham for Clint Dempsey. Thank god that one never came about!

Fair play to Hendo though, one thing that has never been up for question is his character and attitude. He stayed to fight for his place and not only won it back in his favoured central position but played a pivotal part in our title challenge in 13/14. So important was he in that campaign that many felt the red card he received against City and subsequent 3 match ban was the turning point that cost us the league title. A remarkable turnaround and one made even more so when the same manager who had tried to flog him to Fulham, named him club captain when Gerrard retired.

These days, Klopp has converted Hendo from a box to box player to a number 6 and many (myself included) have been very critical of some of his displays and have always thought he could be improved upon. I must say though, this past 6 months I’ve been very impressed by his performances.

Hendo has a new problem now though. Well actually, he has two. Fabinho and Keita. Two of Europe’s most exciting and in demand midfielders are set to pitch up at Anfield on July 1st, both have made big money moves, both can play number 6 or 8 and both will be going straight into the first team I would imagine, so where does that leave Hendo?

The reality is, probably with his biggest challenge to date. Hendo isn’t getting any younger and with his heel condition, he is increasingly missing chunks of each campaign. Sure, our squad needs to become stronger and Hendo would certainly be a strong option on the bench but would he accept that? He is club captain after all, which brings us to the next point - Is a player who is likely to only feature in 50% of our games (if he’s lucky) from now on, really the best choice for captain? Personally I would make Van Dijk captain. The impact he has made to that defence is almost beyond measure and he has shown immense leadership qualities since he has come in.

My personal feelings about Hendo is that the writing is on the wall. I think we’ll probably see his playing time reduced next year and he’ll then have a choice to make. Is he happy to be a squad player at a Champions League club or would he rather go down a level and play every week? Knowing Hendo, I believe he would prefer the latter, unless of course his heel condition makes that decision for him and he accepts he won’t be able to play all the time. He may then be happy to stay as a squad player and take over Milner’s current role of elder statesman when he moves on.

Whatever happens, Henderson has been a fantastic servant to the club, who leads by example as a professional both on and off the pitch and I have a great deal of respect for the man. I do feel his career is approaching a crossroads though, sooner rather than later.


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