The Re-Imagining of Liverpool's Jordan Henderson This Season

Max MuntonLiverpool CorrespondentNovember 7, 2013

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 26:  Jordan Henderson of Liverpool competes with Youssouf Mulumbu of West Bromwich Albion during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion at Anfield on October 26, 2013 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Little over a year ago, many were labeling Jordan Henderson as a Liverpool flop. Another expensive write-off from the days of Kenny Dalglish and Damien Comolli.

Henderson had been on the verge of a move to Liverpool’s opponents this weekend, Fulham, when Brendan Rodgers took over from Dalglish at Anfield.

The start of the 2012/13 season saw impressive form from new midfield signing Joe Allen, and Henderson’s days on Merseyside looked increasingly numbered.

A flourish of form when Allen suffered a troublesome shoulder injury early into last season saw Henderson take his opportunity and silence his critics.

Now the boyhood Sunderland fan finds himself standing on the shoulders of giants—a first-team regular and integral part of the set-up.

Henderson’s more-recent change in his role in the team only serves to prove how valuable Rodgers sees the 23-year-old, heaping further responsibility on his shoulders.

How Henderson hasn’t broken into Roy Hodgson’s England side reguarly, yet the likes of Tom Cleverley have, is beyond me. Maybe it’s something to do with his gait.

Henderson now has the task of pressing further up the pitch, a role that, until very recently, had been filled by Steven Gerrard for many years.

The phrase, “Run, Hendo, Run,” has been heard many a time at the games this season, and has become a catchphrase amongst Liverpool fans on social media.

His impressive stamina and athleticism to get forward to support the front two of Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez takes some of the pressure off Gerrard’s shoulders.

Henderson has also found the time and energy to get back and support Gerrard and Lucas Leiva in Liverpool’s central midfield. Not an efficient use of him as a resource, as discussed at length lately.

Last Saturday, with Liverpool trailing at the Emirates stadium, Henderson took the ball valiantly and defiantly past an impressive Arsenal defence.

His final shot was comfortably saved by Wojciech Szczesny, but his drive and desire to get himself into those more-forward positions was both positively aggressive and exciting.

Henderson has proven his versatility this season, but his prime position looks to have been found by Rodgers, who now boasts a variety of quality options in behind the front two.

How to fit the likes of Henderson, Philippe Coutinho, Victor Moses, Iago Aspas and a plethora of rising youngsters could well be the next selection headache for Rodgers. But who’s complaining?