Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is thriving at the World Cup. Might Jurgen Klopp learn from Gareth Southgate’s and give the captaincy to another Red?
Before everyone starts shouting at me let’s be clear: I think Jordan Henderson is a great Liverpool captain. His conduct, attitude and passion for the club are everything I expect in a player who wears that armband. Also, despite what a few lads on Twitter may whine about, he’s been a very good midfielder.
But this World Cup has got me thinking: Could giving the Liverpool captaincy to another player lighten Henderson’s load and allow him to concentrate on being the best player he can possibly be?
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Henderson’s performances at the World Cup are no surprise to me; he has played at a very high level in the Liverpool midfield for seven seasons. Yet in the England set up we are seeing his best in every game. That has not always been the case since he became LFC captain in 2015.
Consistency is a hall-mark of Henderson’s performances. He doesn’t let you down. He doesn’t swing from heights to depths either in a single game or from match-to-match. He’s always there, working hard, keeping the ball, helping us win.
However he doesn’t play consistently at his very best. Some of the legitimate criticisms of him stem from that fact. England are seeing his top-level each game at this tournament.
You can say that the opposition for England has not been the best. True, but that is part of what I want more from him at Liverpool; he always plays well in the big games and rivalries. I want to see him dominate Burnley or Watford like he did against Sweden.
I honestly believe a Liverpool midfield trio of Fabinho, Naby Keita and peak Jordan Henderson is the best midfield trio in the league. Might relinquishing the armband help him relax into playing better? I think it would.
The trouble is making it happen. I remember Sami Hyypia talking about losing the Liverpool captaincy to Steven Gerrard in 2003. It hurt him and knocked his confidence for a year or so. I don’t want that to happen to Hendo.
Jurgen Klopp will feel simply handing it to Virgil van Dijk will do more damage than good. The manager won’t wrestle it from Henderson; the player would have to be willing to let it go. And that is why it won’t happen; he doesn’t give up and he believes in himself too much.
Captain Hendo is here to stay. And that’s just fine by me.