Competition for places at Liverpool drives captain Jordan Henderson on
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson admits the midfield options Jurgen Klopp now has at his disposal are great for the manager, although not so much for the players competing for those positions.
The England international returned to the starting line-up, having been left out for the Champions League win in Genk, and scored his first goal at Anfield since December 2015 to kick-start a 2-1 comeback win against Tottenham.
Klopp picked Henderson in his tried-and-tested trio of Fabinho and Georginio Wijnaldum despite many fans, particularly on social media, wanting the more attacking Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or Naby Keita – or both – to play instead.
Against that background Henderson’s name appearing on the team-sheet always provokes an immediate negative online response but the 29-year-old remains a key player for Klopp in the big games.
“We have got a lot of good midfielders and we’ve got different players that can do different things,” said Henderson.
“I suppose that’s good for the manager because it’ll depend on certain games and certain teams that we’re playing and who fits that particular game.
“But I feel as though we’re all performing to a high level, and we’ve just got to continue pushing each other in training and in games.
“Ultimately, we all want the same thing, we all want to be successful and we all want to help each other. So it’s good for everyone to keep playing the way they have been.”
Part of the criticism levelled at Henderson is that he is not creative enough, and he certainly does not score enough goals with just 26 in 337 games for the club.
His equaliser against Spurs was perfect timing then.
“I don’t really care who scores goals as long as we win,” he added.
“People will analyse and say we want more goals from midfield but ultimately if the forwards score the goals then what does it matter?
“As long as we win games, the midfielders can contribute in other ways throughout the game.
“It’s not always goals. Now and again it’s nice to get on the scoresheet, but for us it’s about performance, it’s about working together as a team, and it doesn’t matter who scores.”
Fabinho is Klopp’s one ‘undroppable’ midfielder and he showed his value and versatility with a game-changing second-half performance.
The Brazil international, the defensive midfield linchpin, adopted a more adventurous approach after the break and provided the assist for Henderson’s goal.
“Fab has been excellent. Another good performance from him, (he’s) so good in that position,” said Henderson.
“I’ve played in that position for a while and it is a tough position. He’s perfect for it; he reads the game so well and breaks the play up and starts attacks off.
“He’s a fantastic player and he’s in great form and hopefully that can continue.”