Goal-scoring midfielders are a very rare breed of footballers in World Football. Juggling one’s defensive and offensive responsibilities and finding the back of the net regularly requires a special blend of talent, ability, hard work and desire.
And boy, oh boy, it’s not as easy as it sounds.
History is a testament to the fact that before our talismanic captain Steven Gerrard, there have been just 3 midfielders who surpassed the 20 goal mark in a season in the Red of Liverpool. John Wark in the 1984-1985 season did it and was soon followed by Danish dynamo Jan Molby in the following season. However, prior to our 173 goal captain there has been just one Terry McDermott who found the net regularly with ease surpassing the 20 goal barrier twice in his time at Merseyside.
A couple of seasons ago, after having endured an under-whelming first season at Anfield, Jordan Henderson was one of the players who was on the verge of being let go by then newly appointed Brendan Rodgers. Having fought his way back into the side and now a pivotal member of the Liverpool first-team, the 24 year old from the North East looks like the heir to Stevie G in the Liverpool midfield. The departure of Luis Suarez and high expectations from Rodgers has put a whole lot of responsibility on young “Hendo’s” shoulders. Not one to back off from a challenge the Sunderland academy graduate has got his season off to a wonderful start.
High Expectations – 2014-2015
With Brendan Rodgers setting the target for the England international at 10 goals this season and being tipped by many as the successor to the captain’s armband after Stevie hangs up his boots; Henderson put in a performance right out of the top-drawer against the Saints in the opener. Being tipped as a Liverpool skipper in the making by the likes of Mark Lawrenson, Terry McDermott and Jamie Carragher is nothing but a statement of how far the hard-working midfielder has come in the last 2 seasons. The pass that set up Raheem Sterling for the opener had Stevie G written all over it. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that the former England skipper has had a huge influence over Henderson’s game but he’s a proper North East boy, though, and he understands what football is all about.
Henderson is irreplaceable in this Liverpool team. One has to just take a look at the effect his suspension at the back end of last season caused to Liverpool’s title run-in and when he was suspended and you compare that with his first season at the club and that right there, is a massive statement in itself. The Liverpool number 14 will know he is pacey with all of his tireless running and the fact that he gets himself into wonderful goal-scoring positions aids his new task of finding the back of the net as often as possible. And once you start scoring you get the hang of it. When you come off the pitch normally, you think ‘did I pass people in’ or ‘did I chase back enough’ but with a goal it’s a massive thing.
Captain in the Making, maybe ?
When Steven Gerrard does retire and granted that it won’t be for at least a couple more years, Henderson is a contender to take the skipper’s role. If you’re a manager and you’re asked to pick a captain you’d want to choose someone who is playing every week. At the moment, Henderson is one of the first names down every week and that will certainly come into Rodgers’ mind. Being one of the more vocal and loved members of the squad makes Hendo the ideal candidate for the skippers post.
The Marathon Man from Sunderland has got a great chance at an outstanding career at Anfield. All he’s got to do is to grasp the chance handed to him again this year and kick on with a few more goals.