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Replacing Gerrard is a horrible job - Klopp backing for Liverpool skipper Henderson

Jurgen Klopp believes Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has shown he is capable of emerging from Steven Gerrard's shadow.

The 27-year-old England midfielder endured a patchy run of form earlier this season and notably spent the key fixture against Spartak Moscow on the bench before the turn of the year.

But since his return from a hamstring injury at the end of January, Henderson has proved central to Klopp's plans once more and the former Sunderland man excelled in Saturday's 2-0 win over Newcastle United.

Speaking ahead of Tuesday's Champions League last-16 match against Porto, Klopp told reporters: "Jordan knows what I think about him and what [England manager] Gareth Southgate think about him. That's 100 per cent clear.

"Can Jordan improve? 100 per cent he is young enough to do so. He is playing for us, he is our skipper and last game, for sure, was an outstandingly good game in a lot of parts.

"He controlled the game, his passing range was brilliant, he did everything in the right moments. When he was not aggressive he was patient."

Taking the armband at Anfield and being a mainstay of the England midfield in the aftermath of Gerrard's outstanding career for club and country has sometimes invited heavy scrutiny for Henderson, who Klopp feels has earned being respected as a fine footballer in his own right.

"He's a really good player," he continued. "There was not a second of doubt in my opinion. He has the really hard job to have here and with England to replace Steven Gerrard.

"That is a horrible job to have but hopefully now people see him now more as a single person. When he is fit he is a really, really strong football player."

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Liverpool hold a 5-0 lead heading into the home leg versus Porto after Sadio Mane helped himself to a hat-trick at the Estadio do Dragao last month.

Nevertheless, Klopp is not ready to make wholesale changes, even with a trip to Manchester United on the horizon this weekend.

"Rotating in the way you think, probably - I'm not 100 per cent sure – no," he added.

"We won the game in quite an impressive way, we were very effective that night. Six shots on target and five went in. That's how a result like this can happen.

"But we respect Porto too much and respect the competition too much that we would think about real rotation.

"You don't rotate to avoid something, you only use the players who are in the best shape.

"If it is a different line-up it will only be because we want to win the game, nothing else. We will not rest players. We will maybe make one, two or three changes but only to win the game."

Georginio Wijnaldum and Ben Woodburn will miss out once again following a bout of illness.