Can Henderson help skipper Liverpool back to silverware success?
Life after Steven Gerrard has begun at Liverpool, with the club’s long-serving stalwart skipper departing for LA Galaxy in the United States, and Jordan Henderson receiving the honour of succeeding him as captain at Anfield.
After guiding the Reds to a double of FA Cup victories, a trio of League Cups and a famous Champions League triumph in 2005, Gerrard is replaced by Henderson, but can he be the man to do what his processor couldn’t and lift the Premier League? He is 20/1 with Coral to do so next term.
Having taken over as skipper from Sami Hyypia in 2003 under former coach Gerard Houllier, Gerrard’s defining moment in his 17-year Anfield career was lifting the club’s fifth European Cup in Istanbul. However, at such a prestigious side, the glaring omission of a top-flight crown still screams out each passing campaign.
Arriving from Sunderland in 2011, newly appointed captain Henderson has already become an integral part of Liverpool, starring in their agonisingly close attempts to capture their maiden Premier League title in 2014.
The former Wearside midfielder deputised as skipper whenever Gerrard didn’t feature last season, and was the obvious choice for the job once the former England skipper finally called it a day on Merseyside.
“I’m absolutely delighted and proud. It is a great honour and a huge privilege to be named as the captain of this football club,” Henderson stated upon receiving the armband officially.
“When Steven wasn’t in the team last season, I tried to do the best I could when I stepped in and took the armband. Now I’ll be looking to carry that on and continue to grow as a captain.
“I’ll look to give my best all of the time, put the team firmly first and try to give them, or help them with, whatever they need from me.”
So far Henderson has made 186 outings in red, with 19 of those coming as skipper, but next term he will lead he Anfield outfit out permanently as club captain, when he hopes to bring success back under the reign of Brendan Rodgers.
“I’ll carry on from what I was doing last season and I’ll also try to take on more responsibility for the team and my team-mates,” he continued.
“We all have the same goal, and that’s to bring success to this club and our incredible supporters.”
The early arrival of many top class names in this summer’s transfer window outlines Rodgers’ intentions to make a genuine impact domestically, having faltered in the league since the departure of Luis Suarez to Barcelona in 2014.
Henderson possesses all of the talents and leadership qualities capable of becoming a successful skipper on the red half of Merseyside, and a league title is surely the immediate aim, though the distraction of Europa League football could hinder that target.
With James Milner arriving as a possible midfield partner for Henderson, along with the talents of Roberto Firmino, Nathaniel Clyne and Danny Ings, he will have a revitalised Reds roster to lead out next season (14/1 to win Europa League).
During next term, after a competitive pre-season which sees the team gel together, if Henderson was to manage what Gerrard couldn’t during his career in the top tier, would his efforts eclipse that of the Liverpool legend?
Gerrard starred heavily in the Champions League and became Liverpool’s go to man when they were searching for a spark of inspiration, a burden Henderson must undertake for the rest of his Anfield career.
Although, the England international has the right attitude and accolades needed to succeed and match the personal efforts of Gerrard, but now also has top quality teammates in the ranks to assist his endeavours.
A return to Europe’s elite club competition is a must next term, meaning a triumph in the Europa League or a return to the Premier League’s top four places is required, an achievable goal for Henderson and Liverpool in his hopeful first campaign as club captain (9/4 top four finish).