Liverpool made an inconsistent start to Jurgen Klopp’s first full season at the club. The German manager was attempting a few things with regard to the starting line-up and some of those changes did not go well with the supporters. Not too long ago, Jordan Henderson was seen as the candidate to take over the captain’s armband from Steven Gerrard. However, he has slipped far from those lofty standards at least in the minds of the supporters. Klopp has been utilising Henderson as a defensive midfielder flanked by Georginio Wijnaldum and Adam Lallana.
However, Henderson as a defensive midfielder is not working out at its best and it has shown in the performances by the England international over the last few weeks. Redemption, though, could not have come in a much better way for the player, as he scored – potentially one of the goals of the month – to put Liverpool on their way to yet another victory at Stamford Bridge in recent seasons.
Gary Cahill is to be criticised for his weak clearance that put the ball directly to the feet of Henderson, but the former Sunderland player still had an extraordinary amount of work left to do. A side-footed effort generated so much pace and curl on the ball that goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois – one of the tallest on the pitch – failed to keep out of his net. Apart from his goal, Henderson had a faultless night and was only let down by a relatively low pass accuracy for a defensive midfielder.
In comparison with N’Golo Kante, who has been one of Chelsea’s finest players this season, Henderson was found wanting only in terms of pass success. He had only 84% pass accuracy while Kante had a very high 93%. Both had two shots on target, but Henderson came up with the effort that counted the most in the game. While Kante was even dispossessed by the opposition, Henderson did not let Chelsea take the ball off him. He was only let down with the return of just two tackles compared to Kante’s four, although it is largely a result of Chelsea not spending much time in Liverpool’s half.
Henderson may have been subjected to some abuse from his own supporters at the start of the campaign, but there is every possibility that the tide looks set to change with one of the best performances from the player in recent memory.