Following in the footsteps of Steven Gerrard was never going to be easy, but Jordan Henderson is doing an admirable job since succeeding the Liverpool legend as club captain back in 2015.
The 27-year-old, who moved to Anfield in a £20 million deal from Sunderland in 2011, will have the chance to emulate Gerrard later this month by lifting the European Cup.
The Reds take on Real Madrid in the Champions League final on May 26 and Henderson, in what will be the proudest moment of his career so far, will lead his side out at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev.
Henderson doesn’t possess the same world-class qualities as Gerrard, who was capable of winning matches single-handedly, but he’s still a fine central midfielder in his own right.
The England international, who has been capped 38 times for his country and should be part of Gareth Southgate’s starting line-ups at this summer’s World Cups finals in Russia, keeps things simple and possesses an underrated array of passing.
What he lacks in quality, he more than makes up for with determination, work ethic and leadership.
He always gives 100 per cent each time he pulls on the famous red shirt and expects those around him to do the same.
Henderson is a proper leader
This was summed up perfectly last week, following Liverpool’s 7-6 aggregate victory over AS Roma at the Stadio Olimpico.
The Reds’ players were celebrating in front of their jubilant supporters when Henderson pulled up goalkeeper Loris Karius for failing to catch a cross towards the end of the match. (Watch that video HERE).
Although his performance levels fluctuate, there’s no doubt that Liverpool have a proper leader in Henderson.
However, had Brendan Rodgers got his way, the midfielder wouldn’t be at Anfield right now.
What Rodgers wanted to do with Henderson in 2012
Per a report in the Telegraph from 2012, Rodgers offered Henderson as a makeweight in a cash deal for Fulham’s Clint Dempsey.
The US international, who turned 35 in March and now plies his trade for Seattle Sounders in Major League Soccer, scored 23 goals in 46 matches for Fulham during the 2011-12 campaign and Rodgers wanted to bring him to Anfield.
However, Tottenham won the race for Dempsey’s signature and Henderson ended up staying put with the Merseyside outfit.
“When the manager told me I could go to Fulham it was a bit of a shock at first,” Henderson said several months after the failed bid for Dempsey. “What he said came as a sort of bolt from the blue. I think the Dempsey situation had stalled, but it wasn’t really of interest to me.
“I worked really had to come to a club like Liverpool and I didn’t want to leave in a hurry. I want to stay at Liverpool for as long as I can. I want to keep fighting for my place and I told the manager that. I said I wanted to stay and keep fighting because I believe I can get into the team.
“I just wanted to focus on playing for Liverpool, work hard and get myself into the team. Some people might have thought they’d rather go and play football but I said I will continue to work hard every day, keep fighting and I believe I have the ability to be in the team.”
Rather than allowing his head to drop, Henderson saw this as an opportunity to prove Rodgers wrong – and he’s managed to do just that.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, of course, but how crazy does Rodgers’ decision to try and offload Henderson – plus cash(!) – for Dempsey look now?
Liverpool fans should count their lucky stars that this deal failed to materialise.