Since Steven Gerrard announced he was leaving Liverpool at the end of the season fans have looked to vice-captain Jordan Henderson to become their new leader.
Whilst Henderson has stepped into the role superbly so far this term, it looks like his future at Anfield may be shorter than anyone hoped. The midfielder is seeking a new contract worth £100,000-per-week before he commits to a long term future. It is believed he has already rejected a five year deal worth £80,000-per-week and, whilst everyone is fixated on the Sterling situation, Henderson’s needs sorting a lot quicker as his contract runs out in 2016.
Liverpool could have a fight on their hands convincing Henderson to stay at Anfield, as Premier League leaders, Chelsea are reportedly monitoring the situation. Liverpool’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League with a top four finish are all but over following Saturday’s 4-1 at Arsenal.
The lack of Champions League action could mean that Henderson, despite saying he wanted to stay at Liverpool for a long time, could be tempted to look elsewhere.
The Reds’ boss Brendan Rodgers has already admitted it will be hard to attract big name signings. He said recently: “I think most players want to be in the Champions League.
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“Players want to play at the top level of the game and if you’re not in the Champions League it makes it difficult for you.”
After a difficult season trying to recover from the blow of falling at the last hurdle last year, Liverpool’s season now rests on winning the FA Cup. The team face a quarter-final replay at Championship side Blackburn on Wednesday night and if they make it through to the final maybe that will convince Henderson to stay. Trophies count in football. In order to attract big names you need to win them.
With all the unrest at the club, it is important things settle down. Whilst there is so much uncertainty it is bound to have an impact on the players. It was evident from the way the team played against Arsenal. There has only been good press recently about the Gunners and they looked a much more confident team than the one Liverpool put out. The news about Henderson not agreeing his contract is more bad press that the club don’t want as they go into the FA Cup match with Blackburn tonight.
After the upsets they have had in recent seasons when it comes to trophies, this FA Cup could be more important than they initially believed. Henderson needs something to show him that Liverpool is the place he should be. For Liverpool, there is no doubt they need to keep him. He has proved himself as a leader and while the club goes through a change as Gerrard leaves it is vital they keep some stability, otherwise they could see themselves having to completely rebuild.
At the moment the rumours are nothing huge. Henderson has already stated he wants to stay at Liverpool for the long run but if other teams like Chelsea, who can guarantee him Champions League football, start to show more of an interest then his eyes could start to wander.
Win the FA Cup and that moment when he is holding the trophy to an ecstatic Liverpool crowd could be the deciding factor and the defining moment of his career so far.