After experiencing the highs of reaching the Champions League final last season, Liverpool now find themselves on the verge of a surprise elimination at the group stages following Wednesday night’s 2-1 defeat away at Paris Saint-Germain.
Jurgen Klopp’s side are currently third in Group C with one match left to play and must defeat Napoli at Anfield on December 11 in order to advance to the knockout stages.
Liverpool will still qualify if they beat Napoli 1-0 or by two goals, although they will also go through - regardless of the result - if PSG fail to defeat Red Star Belgrade on the same night.
The Parisians were the far superior side over the course of the 90 minutes at the Parc des Princes and broke the deadlock in the 13th minute courtesy of Juan Bernat.
The excellent Neymar then left the visitors with a mountain to climb by doubling PSG’s advantage with just over 10 minutes remaining.
James Milner gave Liverpool hope of a comeback by netting a penalty on the stroke of half-time, but no further goals were scored after the break, meaning it all comes down to Matchday Six.
While few of Liverpool’s players covered themselves in glory against PSG, there’s been a pretty severe backlash on social media against captain Jordan Henderson.
The English midfielder struggled against the French champions and, in truth, looked out of his depth at times.
The Liverpool Echo handed Henderson an unflattering 4/10 rating for his performance, adding: “Looked devoid of energy whenever PSG players ran at him, which was costly first half. More of the ball after the break but didn't do enough with said possession.”
Liverpool fans have long criticised Henderson for taking the easy option with his passing - and that was evident again on Wednesday evening.
But amid the online abuse - and much of it has been completely over the top - one Liverpool supporter has posted a measured thread on Twitter explaining in a rational manner why Henderson shouldn’t be playing in big games for the Reds any more.
“Henderson was once brilliant for us in an advanced CM role.
“He was then again brilliant as a DLP under Klopp early on. There was a point in the 2016/17 season where he led the league in passes, forward passes, Long Balls and tackles.”
“Because of these things in mind, I can totally understand why so many adamantly defend him.
“He used to be capable of hooked over the top through balls that were just magical and could have been of great use tonight.
“He could actually genuinely pick out a pass.”
“However, I do not believe Henderson is that player anymore.
“It’s no secret that Hendo has suffered from injury after injury in his time at LFC. And injuries take tolls on players.
“Whether that’s reducing their physical or technical ability or both.”
“He’s not as sharp as he once was, he was never a rock at the base of midfield but if someone did get past him he was capable of catching up and regaining possession.
“His ability to pick out a pass has also visibly declined.”
“I can totally understand WHY people want to defend him, but the reality is they’re quite often defending the memory of what Henderson was, not what he is.
“He’s no longer the player he was before, and the squad has moved past him.”
“This is not to say that Henderson needs to be sold, his presence in the dressing room and (surprisingly) his impact off the bench are still very real.
“But as soon as Klopp believes Fabinho is ready, he can’t be playing in big games for us at this point of his career.”
“I do not believe Henderson is ‘useless’ or that he doesn’t have a role to play, but that role is not a consistent place in the starting XI.
“In a game with a lot of possession with more forward thinking midfielders in front of him, he suffices. But not in a flat 3 like today.”
A fair and balanced opinion from a fan is rare to see on Twitter, especially after their team suffer defeat in a big match.
But after watching Henderson struggle against PSG, the points made about the 28-year-old all appear to be extremely valid.