When Liverpool announced the £39m capture of Fabinho early in the summer, along with the long-awaited arrival of Naby Keita from RB Leipzig, many fans would have feared for club captain Jordan Henderson’s place in the starting XI.
Unlike the two new arrivals, the Sunderland-born centre-mid was away representing his country at the World Cup in Russia over the summer, but there was no chance of him taking extra holiday and Henderson returned on the bench for the first Premier League game of the season against West Ham.
Liverpool paid Sunderland £20m for a 20-year-old Henderson in the summer of 2011, and he was made captain of the Reds in July 2015 when club-legend Steven Gerrard retired. However, there has always been the sense that the England international has not been fully appreciated by fans. The club clearly do know the asset they have though, and Henderson signed a new five-year contract at the start of September this year.
Having been central to manager Jurgen Klopp’s plans since the German’s first day (aside from some injury problems), Henderson now knows the gegenpressing system and his high-energy game is perfectly suited to the way Liverpool play.
This point was perfectly proven with Klopp’s selection for this season’s Champions League opener against Paris Saint-Germain, as Henderson started alongside James Milner and Georginio Wijnaldum and the trio’s workrate nullified the significant threat of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe extremely well.
Heading into this weekend’s game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge though, one moment from Henderson’s Liverpool career stands out to prove just why he is still loved by Klopp in a Liverpool team full of big-money signings, and it isn’t just because of his engine.
In September 2016, Liverpool travelled to Stamford Bridge to play Chelsea early in the Premier League season, just as they will do this week.
Centre-back Dejan Lovren put the Reds ahead within 20 minutes, before Henderson took down a Gary Cahill clearance and bent an unbelievable strike past Thibaut Courtois into the top right-hand corner of the net from 25 yards.
The accuracy and technique that Henderson displayed is proof that he has the quality that he often doesn’t get credit for, either in a Liverpool shirt or for the Three Lions. The now 28-year-old will be hoping for a similar result to that day, where Liverpool held out for a 2-1 win, to keep their current 100 per cent league record this season.