Henderson deserves more appreciation


Liverpool are the reigning European champions and are running away with the Premier League this season yet their captain, Jordan Henderson, remains undervalued.

England international Henderson is the longest-serving player within the Liverpool squad after joining from Sunderland in 2011, but it feels likes he has had to win supporters and pundits over the hard way after drawing criticism during the early part of his Anfield career.

Indeed, Henderson was reportedly close to being shipped out of the club in 2012, as he was being lined up as a makeweight in a deal that would have seen him join Fulham, with Clint Dempsey heading in the opposite direction.

The midfielder ultimately turned down the chance to move to Craven Cottage in favour of fighting for his place at Liverpool and that certainly appears to have been the right decision for all concerned.

Henderson was named Liverpool captain when Steven Gerrard left the club in 2015 and he led them to their sixth European title in May, as they beat Tottenham 2-0 in the Madrid final.

Henderson has also featured in all but one of Liverpool’s Premier League games to date this term, with the Reds still unbeaten and sitting eight points clear at the top of the standings.

The 29-year-old may not score many goals or provide a lot of assists, but he is certainly appreciated by everyone at Liverpool, with defender Virgil van Djik admitting after Tuesday’s Champions League victory over Salzburg that he always “leads by example” and  “works so hard for the team”.

Henderson may also be, slowly but surely, altering the perceptions of people away from Anfield too, but he does still appear to be a player that is underappreciated in many quarters.

Indeed, it feels like there aren’t many players that have made nearly 350 appearances for Liverpool, captained the Reds to Champions League glory and won over 50 England caps that still divides opinion.

It may be that Henderson’s quality is only fully appreciated once he eventually calls time on his Anfield career, although he could still add a lot more trophies to his list of accolades before that time eventually comes.

The midfielder is under contract with Liverpool until the summer of 2023 and, if he sees out that deal, then it will take him to 12 years’ service with the team, a longer stint than club legends like Phil Neal, Roger Hunt and Robbie Fowler, although he is unlikely to be heralded in the same way as those players in years’ to come.