Jordan Henderson is crucial to Liverpool returning to the pinnacle of the Premier League season after a third-placed finish this time around.
In an era when supporters and writers like myself spend far too much time speculating and wondering about who Liverpool will sign next, our current players don’t get enough praise.
Contract extensions aren’t celebrated as much as a player’s first deal with the club and it’s easy to understand why but I’m taking this opportunity to celebrate a player that is vital to Liverpool on and off the pitch.
Virgil van Dijk’s anterior cruciate ligament rupture derailed the Liverpool train at a time when it seemed as though it was nigh on unstoppable.
Fresh off a 99-point title-winning season, Liverpool should have once again dominated the Premier League but a host of injuries to key players left Jurgen Klopp with very little to work with.
Emergency signings Ozan Kabak and Ben Davies arrived in the winter transfer window and while the latter didn’t play a single minute, the former played admirably and will understandably be gutted at not seeing his move to Anfield made permanent.
While van Dijk and Joe Gomez were a huge miss in defence, Jordan Henderson’s groin surgery in late February was a massive, massive blow.
The skipper has matured as a footballer and leader hugely since Steven Gerrard handed him the captain’s armband and the 2019/20 title win was a watershed campaign as he won the FWA Footballer of the Year award.
It wasn’t just for his world-class performances in a midfield role that is crucial to Klopp’s marauding system but it was more about recognising his transformation from a player that Sir Alex Ferguson said ran weirdly into a player that won the Champions League and Premier League in consecutive seasons.
He’s also shown his value as a human being by campaigning for social justice by using his large social media accounts while he orchestrated a meeting between the other 19 club captains in England’s top division to lash out at the European Super League farce.
Next season, Liverpool will have Henderson back fit and his passion and leadership will be a massive boost to their chances of success.
One of the most fascinating aspects of watching football on television without any fans in the ground is that you can hear the players on the pitch communicating with each other and rarely does another player drown out the Sunderland-born central midfielder.
With Liverpool aiming to bounce back and win their second title in three years, Klopp will breathe a huge sigh of relief knowing he’s got his captain back.
CIES Football Observatory values Henderson at €30million but Liverpool fans will argue that he is priceless.