Jordan Henderson has identified Ivan Rakitic as a key reason for the successes enjoyed by Barcelona this season and hopes studying the Croatian midfielder will, in turn, help develop his own game.
Rakitic joined Barcelona from Sevilla in the summer transfer window of last year and has enjoyed a fine maiden campaign at the Camp Nou, which could end with a Champions League victory over Juventus.
The 27-year-old has been able to establish himself as the heir apparent to Barcelona captain Xavi, who will depart after the European showpiece, and his performances have facilitated the prolific form of the Catalan side’s esteemed front three.
Henderson is one of many to have been in awe of Rakitic’s consistently high standards and has the ambition of turning in similar performances for Liverpool next season, with the England international is expected to assume the role of captain following Steven Gerrard’s exit.
"Rakitic was one of the players I was watching more closely that night at City," Henderson told reporters.
"He doesn't get the praise given to Neymar, Messi or Suarez but he's so influential and does all the dirty work. He has qualities I can learn off.
"Everyone loves watching that front three play - I was blown away by that - but, while the credit goes to them, they all work just as hard behind them. Rakitic is a big part of that."
Liverpool had actually been linked with Rakitic during his time with Sevilla and what an acquisition he could have been for Brendan Rodgers. But Henderson will be aiming to prove he can be equally as important for Liverpool as Rakitic has become for Barca.
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