Jordan Henderson Has Developed into Liverpool's Most Crucial Asset

Aaron BowerFeatured ColumnistMarch 17, 2014

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 23:  Jordan Henderson of Liverpool celebrates scoring the second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Swansea City at Anfield on February 23, 2014 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Liverpool's 3-0 victory at Manchester United confirmed what most knew alreadythe Reds are without doubt credible title challengers.

The goals of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridgearguably the most formidable partnership in Europehave gone a long way to putting Brendan Rodgers' side in the spotlight when it comes to the Premier League title. The consistency of the likes of Glen Johnson and Martin Skrtel at the back have helped, too.


However, for all of Liverpool's success across the field, one of their forgotten men has emerged as the lynchpin that makes the side tick.

Much maligned when Kenny Dalglish splashed out a fee in the region of £20 million on him, Jordan Henderson has taken a significant step forward in his career this season. That can be attributed to the development and faith Brendan Rodgers has invested in him, without a doubt. However, for all the faith a manager can put in a playerhe still has to step up and deliver.

In fact, Henderson has done much more than deliver. He has stepped up to a level where he has become one of the first names on the team-sheet each and every week. In Rodgers and his unique managerial style, Henderson has found his niche.

The ability of the 23-year-old to pick out a pass and dictate the pace of a game is remarkable. His versatility in midfieldbe it out wide or in the middle, or playing deeper compared to bombing forwardis a credential that should see him nailed on for a place in England's World Cup squad later this year. With the fluid system Liverpool employ, to have a man like Henderson is invaluable.

The excellent website have it pretty much nailed on when it comes to Henderson's strengths. Holding on to the ball is the first one listed—that is vital for a player who is operating in the heartbeat of a side. That develops his ability to find the right pass, and indicates he has bags of composure. For someone who is just 23, that is very impressive.

Six assists is pretty good going for someone who fluctuates between deep-lying roles and offensive positions. He averages almost two "key passes" a game, too. Perhaps Henderson's best abilitysomething that you won't find on any statistical websiteis how busy he is when he is out on the field. The attackers in front of him rely on midfield stability, and creativity to open up chances for them. Henderson has emerged as a player who can do both of those jobs with incredible ease.


With Steven Gerrard now playing in a deeper role, the onus is sometimes on Henderson to make the side tick in attack. He has influenced the new lease of life we have seen from the England captain this campaignperhaps their partnership will continue in Brazil later this year.

It is easy to forget that Henderson is only 23, after all. He signed for the club back in 2011, and was very much just a boy. He has drawn much criticism for his failure to develop into a worthwhile role for Liverpoolbut that has all changed. In a matter of months, Jordan Henderson has become the most vital cog in the Liverpool structure. He should be a certainty for the World Cup. Who knows, he may well have just played a major role in a title-winning season for Liverpool when that rolls around.