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Henderson Signs New Longterm Contract

 

I couldn't help but smile as I thought of all those keyboard warriors around the world frothing at the mouth upon reading this news. The signing of Fabinho and Keita, in some people's eyes, was supposed to ring the eventual death knell of Henderson's Liverpool career. Yet Klopp has never swayed, when asked, from his view that Henderson is an important cog in the machine he's building. After the new contract was signed Klopp said:

“It is fantastic news but should not be a surprise to anyone – he is perfect for us and we for him, I think. Jordan embodies entirely what it means to be a Liverpool player in this modern era of football. You can tell through his actions on and off the pitch he treats representing our badge and our shirt as a privilege. He takes nothing for granted and strives to learn and be better for his team at all times. He carries a lot on his shoulders that people on the outside won’t see, but he embraces that responsibility and that leadership. He is our ‘General’ and I trust him completely. But the best thing is, I think – in fact, I know – he will get even better in these coming years. And this improvement will come from a very high base already. Jordan is so important to us and we are very fortunate as a club to have this person commit to us as he has. For Jordan and his wonderful young family I am really pleased they now know they are part of our Liverpool family for an even longer time.”

Being more serious for a moment, this contract signing is intriging if nothing else. What does the timing tell us? With Fabinho - Henderson's direct competition for the Number 6 role - about to make his debut soon maybe this was a vote of confidence in the captain, a reminder he is still relevant in the mind of the manager. Klopp's comments are also interesting. There have been suggestions that with Van Dijk's imperious presence on the pitch the captaincy should be handed to him but with phrases like 'Jordan embodies entirely what it means to be a Liverpool player in this modern era of football' and 'He is our ‘General’ and I trust him completely' I'm not sure Klopp sees it the same way (personally, I think both Van Dijk and Milner make a strong case for being captain and I wouldn't complain if either got it if Henderson had to lose the role).

If nothing else, this contract signing makes one thing crystal clear - Henderson's value to Klopp is not just in his playing. Henderson and Milner, capatin and vice-captain, personify the culture Klopp wants at Liverpool - hard-working, clean-living, selfless and humble. With all the audacious talents being brought in from around the globe Klopp knows egos can quickly dominate a squad. Having a captaincy team of Henderson and Milner really helps in setting an example and in dampening any potential flareups, they're like the mortar between the bricks, helping to hold things together. That's more valuable to a manager than people appreciate.

I want Henderson at Liverpool for as long as Klopp does and I've no doubt if Henderson no longer fits the manager's plans he'll be on his way, and that's fine with me, I trust Klopp's judgement on players, he's done very well in that regard so far. However, something tells me the 'experts' on Twitter may not agree...

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Comments

  • I've never been a massive fan of Hendo but i do love his work rate and passion. I suppose he's earned a new contract but imo the captains band should be given to VVD with milner as vice captain as both will be on the pitch a lot more than Hendo will judging by the opening few games. VVD is a clear leader and i've always been in favour of a defender being the captain as the play is mostly in front of him and therefor can see whats happening all around the pitch. 

    Klopp obvously wants Hendo in the squad and is therefor bigging him up but such is the strong competition now in midfield that for me Hendo is a bit down the pecking order, we've got Wini, Milner and Keita playing very well and we still have Fabinho to come in as well who i think will have a big impact for us once he gets up to speed. 

    All in all i'm happy for Hendo with this new contract, he deserves it but he's for sure not an automatic starter anymore like he used to be which just goes to show the quality we now have at the club.

    • In all honesty, part of the purpose of this contract is clearly to make it expensive for other teams to buy Henderson out. But I also think Klopp's continued faith in Henderson (when he has no obligation to him, he never brought him to the club) says something a bit deeper than the contract signings of others. You're right that Van Dijk would make a perfectly good captain, and Milner too, so what is it about Henderson that makes Klopp back him so strongly?

      I think there's a couple of reasons:

      1) Klopp is a big believer in the 'club' captain, ie the captain represents the club in all its elements, not just on the field. We know Henderson does a lot involving the fans but his role in bringing through the younger players is somewhat underappreciated. If you listen to Trent Alexander-Arnold speak about his transition to the first team you realise how Henderson was used as a mentor by Klopp to help lessen the pressure, the kids always have a friendly arm around the shoulder. It's Henderson's empathy, having been through it all, and approachibility that makes him such an asset within the squad for Klopp. Henderson also seems to understand quickly what Klopp wants on the pitch - Klopp frequently communicates his intentions to Henderson during the match resulting in shouts and the pointing of fingers from the player to his teammates.

      2) Klopp seems to be using a 'horses for courses' approach now he's got the squad depth to do so. If you look at Henderson, Wijnaldum, Fabinho, Keita and Milner - all the players that can play as a defensive midfielder or Number 6 - they are all rather different types of players and I think Klopp will be trying to suit the right player to the right tactics and opponent, injuries and workload allowing. The insertion of Henderson into the side against Leicester was an example of this. The fact Liverpool didn't play particularly well was not because of Henderson's inclusion, in my opinion this is a bit of a red herring. In the previous two games, where Keita started, a gradual reduction in the side's performance was evident so the Leicester display was merely a continuation of a trend.

      So, Henderson's character, lifestyle, experience, communication skill's and specific abilities as a player are probably the reasons why Klopp is so intent on keeping him so involved in his plans, even if, weirdly, Henderson may be playing less this season.

       

  • Admittedly Henderson has limitations but there were few more effective midfielders at this summer's World Cup.  I would always find a place for either him or Milner in the team as they offer a hard working foil to the flair players, though I wouldn't want both of them starting together too often.  

  • There was a time when I'd have agreed with you on that last point but Milner has shown himself to be surprisingly effective going forward meaning you could probably play him with Henderson in a deep position and still have a pretty attacking threat. In reality, though, we've got that many midfield options it's unlikely we'd have to rely on a midfield containing both players that often.

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