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Since his £16m move to Liverpool in the summer of 2011, Jordan Henderson has had a mixed first season and a half at Anfield. After being mismanaged and played out of position by Kenny Dalglish, the young midfielder struggled to break into Brendan Rodgers’ plans for the new season. He was that far down the pecking order that Luverpool were willing to offer him to Fulham in exchange for Clint Dempsey.
But being the hard worker he is, Henderson never gave up. He trained hard, got his chance and took it the best way possible. After a number of impressive performances, Henderson has become a first-team regular and is now a key player in Liverpool’s midfield 3. The fact that he is ahead of Joe Allen in the pecking order is the biggest proof of his progress in the last few weeks.
Henderson may not have the quality of Gerrard or Lucas, but it is his energy and work-rate that make him such an important player for Liverpool. He is constantly running, pressing the opposition when they have possession and looking for space when attacking. That is something Liverpool have lacked this season, with Lucas still recovering from injury and Gerrard not being young anymore.
The player who flourished the most from Henderson’s good run of form is Steven Gerrard. The Liverpool captain no longer needs to do the running and pressing, and can now sit deeper and unlock opposition defences with his passing. That change of position will help Gerrard and Liverpool a lot and could, in the long run, extend Gerrard’s career for a season or two. With Gerrard in the Pirlo role, Liverpool will add a new and extremely dangerous dimension to their attack.
What Henderson needs to do now is keep working hard and with time he will get the recognition he deserves. If he keeps up his current form, he may well become a key player for Rodgers’ top 4 assault next season.
For Liverpool fans, this is another case of a player flourishing late. He got a lot of stick last season, some of it deserved and some of it not. But just like Lucas a few years ago, Henderson proved the doubters wrong and is on his way to becoming a fan favourite.
Written by Ivan Stanic
Follow Ivan on Twitter @stanic007
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