Will Liverpool ever taste defeat?
It must be the question that many people watching the Premier League are asking themselves. The Reds have now won 22 out of 23 matches in the English top tier, and are yet to lose a single match. They currently possess a 16-point lead over second-placed Manchester City – with a game in hand to boot. With 15 matches remaining, they can still afford to lose six of those and still beat the Citizens to the title.
Their latest clash against Wolves was far from an easy one, and it took until the 84th minute for them to score the eventual winner through Roberto Firmino. The Molineux outfit provided plenty of danger, with Adama Traore in particular a real menace – he made an assist and completed four dribbles, appearing to have the ball glued to his feet whenever he went at Jurgen Klopp’s defence. But, a strong mental display from the European champions got the job done.
Several of their players deserve praise, but none more so than Jordan Henderson. The England international has often been slammed by portions of his own fanbase in the past, but he was fantastic against Nuno Espirito Santo’s side on Thursday.
The main statistics will show that he played a vital role in both of his team’s goals. He scored the first one, getting on the end of Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner, and he also provided the assist for Firmino’s strike. Beyond that though, there was plenty more to be happy about, such as the two key passes he provided, as well as his 100% aerial duel win-rate as well.
In a way, the former Sunderland midfielder epitomises Klopp’s reign at Anfield. Before the 52-year-old arrived, it felt as though Henderson would never be a player who could contribute consistently to a successful side, and he was often the subject of ridicule. As per Whoscored, his average Premier League match rating in his first two seasons at the club were down at a disappointing 6.67 and 6.81.
However, he has flourished under the former Borussia Dortmund boss, and not only is he now a vital member of the starting XI – he has started 19 out of the 23 matches so far in the top flight this term – but he is also the club captain.
Firmino is often cited as Liverpool’s most important player, mainly for his link-up play and work-rate, but it has now got to the point where Henderson could easily take that mantle. He takes on the armband with such authority and know-how, it is now impossible to see anyone else taking it from him – even with the likes of Virgil van Dijk in the team.
Whilst he may not be the most glamorous of players, he has made himself close to indispensable for his manager through dedication and hard-work. Sometimes technical quality isn’t the most defining character to be considered one of the team’s most important and impact players.
Although the likes of Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane continue to score goals and take the limelight as a result, Henderson acts as the driving force in the midfield engine room, helping to inspire the Reds to their great success. And after his performance against Wolves on Thursday night, Klopp even admitted that his side wouldn’t be in the incredible situation that they are in right now without “these kinds of characters“.
For that, he deserves all the praise he is likely to receive.
Elsewhere, Liverpool eye this Premier League starlet.