This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
Jordan Henderson was absolutely horrific on Sunday against Manchester United, and the underlying numbers suggest his form isn’t going to change any time soon.
Zero shots. Zero key passes. Zero successful dribbles. 78.1% passing accuracy. For someone occupying the most advanced position in a midfield three, Henderson’s display at Old Trafford was nothing short of abysmal.
What is really concerning however, is that this is the fourth Premier League match in a row the England international has registered 0.00 expected goals and 0.00 expected assists, per Understat.
Usually deployed in a midfield trio with Fabinho doing the dirty defensive work and Georginio Wijnaldum playing as the box-to-box player, Henderson has been granted more attacking freedom after a positive run of form towards the end of last season – he scored once and registered three assists in something of a renaissance in the club’s final six league games.
That spree of form has not carried into the new campaign though, as he is yet to score or assist in ten appearances in all competitions, and it’s really not surprising when you look at his total xG and xA.
According to Understat, Henderson has racked up just 0.27 xG and 0.12 xA in his eight league fixtures, meaning he would have to play roughly 30 games before he finds the back of the net if those averages continue, or a simply ridiculous 67 matches to find an assist – not really the type of attacking input you want from your most advanced midfield player.
The Reds skipper has two key passes in his eight league showings, meaning he creates a chance once every four games, and has only completed two dribbles, per WhoScored.
He is not exactly making a huge contribution on the defensive end either, racking up 15 tackles and seven interceptions. To put that into perspective, winger Sadio Mane has 15 tackles and eight interceptions, while Fabinho has 21 and ten.
Quite simply, Henderson has been totally ineffective in almost every facet of the game, to the point where he may well be harming Liverpool more than he is helping them.
With Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain both returning to fitness over the past couple of weeks, Henderson’s time as an automatic starter must surely be up, and some fans have noticed it too…
Surely after yesterday klopp has to bench henderson. He was abysmal.
— cory (@yrxcpowell) October 21, 2019
Fabinho, Keita and Ox midfield 3 let’s stop this Jordan Henderson nonsense now please
— Grant Gerrard (@Gerrard_Grant8) October 21, 2019
I think it’s time for klopp to drop Henderson for OX or Keita.
— Philip (@tunde_montana) October 20, 2019