Liverpool are reportedly ready to cash in on club captain Jordan Henderson in the summer, as manager Jurgen Klopp seeks to reshape the squad.
Joe Bernstein has reported in the Mail on Sunday that the midfielder faces an “uncertain” future at Anfield, and the Reds may opt to sell him for a fee of around £20 million. That money would then reportedly go towards pursuits of Mario Gotze, Leandro Paredes and Javier Hernandez.
As Bernstein noted, Henderson has been linked with a potential move to Tottenham Hotspur, and Klopp has conceded if any player isn't fully behind the cause he could be on his way, per James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo:
Everything is okay in this moment but nobody in the world, maybe only (Lionel) Messi, is unsellable.
There is always a situation. I come from a club (Borussia Dortmund) where always the best players are picked by other teams and at the end you have to accept a few things and you always need to have a Plan B or Plan C.
If any player comes to me and says I don’t feel comfortable and things like this, and I want to leave, our style of play blah blah, and more money, then you always have to start thinking. That’s all I can say on this.
As these statistics from Squawka Football illustrate, the Reds have been a lot better with their skipper in the side than without him since his move:
Henderson has grown into the heartbeat of this Liverpool team. With his relentless energy, tenacity in the tackle and growing leadership skills, he’s a player who seems well equipped to perform in Klopp’s setup. But there are areas in which he lacks compared to elite central midfielders.
On the ball he can be erratic, and his finishing can leave much to be desired, as BBC Sport’s Phil McNulty noted during the Reds’ recent clash with Manchester United:
Jordan Henderson has just missed an absolute sitter for Liverpool. He seems to actually line up & measure those - then misses.— Phil McNulty (@philmcnulty) March 17, 2016
Henderson is a popular figure at Anfield, and it’d be intriguing to see the reaction from the fanbase if he was moved on. Klopp will see the qualities the England international adds to the team, although he will be acutely aware that if this is a side that is going to challenge for the top honours, many areas of the XI, including central midfield, need upgrading.
Christian Benteke Linked with Juventus
Italian giants Juventus are reportedly set to join the race for Liverpool’s out-of-favour striker Christian Benteke.
That’s according to Tom Hopkinson of the Sunday People (h/t the Sunday Mirror), who suggested the Serie A side enquired about the forward in January, but their advances were turned away. “However, boss Jurgen Klopp will cash in at the end of the season if a suitable offer is made,” continued Hopkinson, suggesting the Reds want £25 million for the player.
Benteke has failed to make an impact at Anfield since his £32.5 million move in the summer and has particularly toiled since Klopp took the job on.
However, as the Liverpool Echo’s Andy Kelly noted here, the striker has recently been praised by the manager for showing a positive attitude despite being out of the side:
In programme notes, Klopp goes out of his way to praise Benteke: Example to everyone. Keep working hard, make contribution when chance comes— Andy Kelly (@AndyK_LivNews) March 10, 2016
Does Benteke have a long-term future at Liverpool?
Nevertheless, it’s clear the striker is not the right type of fit for this team. The German boss demands that his side presses from the front and a mobile front man is needed. Benteke, for all of his qualities, doesn’t have what it takes to fulfil this crucial duty.
According to Hopkinson, Juventus see him as an ideal replacement for Mario Mandzukic, and in a team that often operates with two strikers, perhaps Benteke would find more joy in Serie A. There is still time for him to turn things around at Anfield in the remaining weeks of the campaign, although you suspect something special will be required for Klopp to have a change of heart.