Liverpool's Jordan Henderson to Miss 3 Weeks with Hamstring Injury, Says Klopp

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistFebruary 21, 2020

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 02: Jordan Henderson of FC Liverpool looks on prior to the UEFA Champions League group E match between Liverpool FC and RB Salzburg at Anfield on October 2, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

Jordan Henderson is set to miss as much as three weeks after the Liverpool skipper picked up a hamstring injury during Tuesday's 1-0 defeat away to Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League last-16 first leg on Tuesday.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp confirmed how long his midfield talisman will be on the shelf on Friday, per Husmukh Kerai of Sky Sports: "(Henderson) could have been worse. It was a hamstring (issue) and there have been a lot of different hamstring injuries around in the Premier League, Harry Kane for example. It's not that bad, but he will be out for around three weeks or so. It is not cool, but the way we see it, we were still lucky."

Henderson will now miss Monday night's game at home to West Ham United in the Premier League. The 29-year-old is also likely to be out for subsequent league games away to Watford and at home to Bournemouth.

Those matches are part of a relatively soft run of fixtures that could see Liverpool win the title as early as March 21. Klopp's runaway leaders are 22 points ahead of Manchester City entering the 27th week of the campaign. 

A first domestic title since 1990 isn't the only silverware in the Reds' sights. Liverpool need to overturn their deficit against tough and resourceful Atleti at Anfield on March 11 to keep alive hopes of retaining the Champions League trophy.

Klopp's team is also still in the FA Cup, facing Chelsea away in the fifth round on March 3.

Henderson will be a big miss since he's become the natural leader in a record-breaking squad. The former Sunderland man has transformed himself from a steady if not spectacular anchorman into the player who leads the Liverpool press in the advanced areas of midfield.

Industry and aggression in the middle of the park have made Henderson vital in the relentless game Klopp favours. The England international has also become a more consistent contributor in attack, scoring three goals and providing five assists in the league.

Yet while Henderson is important, Liverpool should cope during his absence. Georginio Wijnaldum often plays in a withdrawn role, but the Dutchman is accomplished technically and a skilled-enough finisher to be an asset further forward.

Klopp no longer needs Henderson as an option to screen the back four because of the way Fabinho has developed. He has settled in the Premier League to become one of the best at breaking up play and launching attacks from deep.

Veteran James Milner, 34, has proved in clutch moments he still has what it takes to contribute for a team expected to win the title. Milner, Naby Keita, Adam Lallana and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ensure the Reds have the strength in depth in the middle to cope in Henderson's absence.  

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