Absence has certainly made the heart grow fonder in Jordan Henderson’s case.
Since the Liverpool skipper was ruled out through injury, it’s become clearer than ever why he is so hotly tipped to win Player of the Year.
It’s no coincidence that the Reds’ recent dip in form has coincided with the midfielder’s spell on the treatment table.
Central midfield was always the designated ‘weak spot’ of Jurgen Klopp’s previously unstoppable side, with Henderson arguably the glue that held it all together. Shielding the defence and providing the link-up play, he really was the key ingredient to Liverpool’s unbeaten run.
Consider Henderson the slice of bread in your fry-up. Not the most exciting part, but an essential who mops everything else up. When it’s not there, you suddenly miss it and wish you’d never taken it for granted in the first place.
The truth is, Liverpool fans have been raving about the England international all season, in particular his passing ability.
For a player who was so often accused of being workmanlike and only having an eye for a sideways pass, it’s remarkable to see how he has come on.
Some of his assists this season in the Premier League have been sublime.
What’s more, there have been five of them – more than twice the combined total of Naby Keita, Fabinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Gini Wijnaldum put together.
It’s not just his assists that should be celebrated though, and to illustrate that point, many of his best passes in 2019/20 (including those which have led directly to goals) have been compiled into one video over on YouTube channel Anfield Legend.
Unfortunately, Henderson is expected to be out of action for at least another week.
In his place, Fabinho put on a disasterclass in midweek in the FA Cup defeat to Chelsea.
Klopp will be hoping his key man is back sooner rather than later, not least because Mo Salah and Sadio Mane will have missed making those runs.
No wonder he’s set to pick up all kinds of individual accolades once he’s inevitably lifted the Premier League trophy.
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