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...