The beating heart of Jurgen Klopp’s all-action midfield amid their rise back to the top of the game, the 31-year-old has shaken off the early doubters to become a focal point of their success, joining an illustrious club of Liverpool captains to have lifted the top prize both in England and Europe.
While it almost seems churlish to talk about the criticisms that plagued him during his first few seasons at Anfield these days, they are worth (even if they weren’t always fair) taking into account, if only to measure just how far Henderson has come.
What was never in doubt, however, was his character.
Rejecting a move to Fulham after just over a year on Merseyside, the England midfielder’s work rate, or his commitment to the cause, has simply never been in question.
Never was that more evident than when Chelsea’s villainous striker Diego Costa tried to intimidate him back in 2015.
At the time, the Spanish international was tearing through Premier League defences after wreaking havoc in La Liga with Atletico Madrid, emerging as one of the most fearsome forwards in Europe.
A prolific battering ram back then, Henderson and Costa clashed during a Capital One Cup meeting at Anfield in January of that year and were reportedly separated following a bust-up in the tunnel after the game.
Although, of course, we’ll never get to see what happens behind the scenes, a clip from the game (as you can see below) showed Henderson at his icy best. Staring the Chelsea striker down in a manner top-level boxers would envy, the Liverpool midfielder proved he was not one to be messed with.
Later, Henderson would reveal that Costa was trying to ‘intimidate’ his younger teammates, to which he took exception.
‘I didn’t want to make any statement,” he said (via The Daily Mail).
“It was just in that game, he was trying to intimidate some of our younger players, which I didn’t really like.
‘He’s a fantastic player that any team would want because of that passion and aggression he’s got. I just don’t like the way he was doing things with our players.’
A leader in every sense of the word, Henderson has never been one to shirk a challenge. There are plenty of metrics to measure his combativeness but that stare alone is enough to tell about the character of the man who would one day lead Liverpool to the ultimate glory.
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