???️ The Liverpool Captaincy

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If there was one thing that came out of the disappointing draw against Chelsea on Saturday night it was that Liverpool sent a very clear message to the entire football world, and that message was we need a new captain desperately. With Jordan Henderson coming under increasing pressure last week for not being able to fulfil his role of wearing the armband, Liverpool are in a position where they are going to have address this issue and soon. Henderson has had the captaincy for two seasons now with this being his third season of wearing the armband and I was hoping by now he would’ve grown into the role. However, this hasn’t been the case unfortunately, Henderson’s lack of leadership skills and his inability to play the holding role in that midfield has coast Liverpool over the last two seasons and Saturday was no different. There are two issues regarding Henderson’s position within the Liverpool squad, firstly is he actually good enough to captain Liverpool and the second is can he play in the midfield role that Klopp wants him to play in? My personal opinion is that the answer to both questions is no, Henderson isn’t good enough to either captain Liverpool or to play the role that Klopp wants him to play and I want to explain why I think this about both issues. Firstly, let’s look at Henderson’s inability to play that DCM role, if you look at the players from all of our rivals who play in that position Henderson statistically comes out worse of all five. I have looked at the statistics of Fernandinho, Nemanja Matic, Eric Dier and N’golo Kanté and even though Henderson has a higher tackling percentage at 63% his interceptions and duels won are lower than any of the others this season and that is a key aspect in playing this role. People often criticise Henderson for not playing the ball forward enough but the defence side of his game also lets Liverpool down, when anyone plays that deep defensive midfield role they have to be able to intercept the ball and Henderson can’t, we saw a perfect example of this on Saturday evening in the build-up to the Chelsea goal, as the ball gets played forward, Gomez wins his header and the ball drops to Henderson where he should be able just to intercept it, but he doesn’t, he loses his duel with Morata and they end up scoring as a result of it effectively costing us two points. But even going forward Henderson doesn’t have enough of an influence on this Liverpool team, in fact I would go as far as saying we play better when Henderson isn’t in the team. I know that this is a very bold statement to make but I honestly think it’s true, if you look at the back end of last season when Henderson first got injured, Can was playing in Henderson’s position for the first few matches and had more of an inference on those games than Henderson had on the entire season. At home against Burnley it was Can who drove forward from that position and ended up scoring the winning goal, and even away against Man City it was Can that played the ball forward to Firmino to win us the penalty and these are just a couple of examples of how Can plays that role miles better than Henderson. I think the problem a lot of Liverpool fans have with Henderson is he isn’t showing the type of leadership skills we need from our captain. I know that this has been discussed a lot lately with regards to how much Henderson interacts with the officials during the game, and I’m aware fans that watch on the TV have a different opinion then fans that go to the game however I do both and for me Henderson isn’t doing enough to influence the officials. Every captain nowadays needs to be talking to the referee throughout every match to make sure that he gets his point of view across. I notice this problem with Henderson a couple of years ago in the EFL Cup Final against Manchester City, I can’t remember if it was in extra time or normal time, Adam Lallana tackled Yaya Toure and both players got into a bit of a heated situation which had to be separated by the officials, I can’t remember who the City captain was on that day but they went straight up to the referee defending Toure whereas Henderson went over to Lallana to make sure he was okay, it was actually Milner who went to the referee to put our case forward. I except Milner is the vice-captain but at the end of the day Henderson had the armband on it was his responsibility to go straight to the referee and put forwards his case for Lallana. Henderson does this a lots in big games, when a big decision is going to be made by the referee Henderson is nowhere to be seen and that’s not what a captain should be doing, he needs to be getting involved and making sure that the referee knows our point of view. Take the United game this season for example, he was talking to the referee throughout the game apart from when Lukaku put in that horrible tackle on Gomez that sent him flying. We all know that it should’ve been a booking for the United striker but Henderson was nowhere to be seen while the referee was making his decision, he needs to be in there making his point to the referee and more importantly defending his teammate. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying players should harass the referee at every decision, but what I am saying that you need to be strong and make sure that your voice is heard. Both Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher did this when they were wearing the armband for Liverpool, I don’t want to compare Henderson to these two legends but this is something basic that every captain should be doing and Henderson doesn’t. So where do Liverpool go from here and who can we give the captaincy to, for now I think Milner should be wearing the armband, at least until the end of the season when we can make a decision on either buying someone else in to be our captain or giving it to someone else within the team. There were couple of ideas floating around in my head on the way back from Liverpool on Saturday but after talking to my dad about the game the next day he threw an idea in there from left-field, it was so good and I really think it could work. The idea was Eric Dier; basically my dad reckons we should bring Dier in and give him the captaincy and I’ve got to be honest although I hadn’t thought of it before Sunday the idea kind of makes sense. I’ve watched quite a few Tottenham games this season and I really do think that Dier has the organisation and leadership skills to be able to be captain at a big club like Liverpool. Obviously this would be a very expensive option as I don’t see Tottenham wanting to sell for any price, but at the end of the day every player has a price and with United sniffing around for him why shouldn’t we be afraid of putting our money where our mouth is and putting in a big bid for Dier. A more realistic idea would be Van Dijk, it looks like Klopp is finally going to get his man in January and it might be an idea to give him the armband as soon as he comes in as he already has captaincy experience at Southampton. Klopp this week has come out and defended Henderson which I suppose he has to do, he can’t exactly leave his captain hung out to dry, but the more and more the games go on and the deeper we are getting into Klopp’s reign at Liverpool the more and more I think he’s going to be under pressure to find a suitable replacement for Steven Gerrard and someone who is worthy of wearing the armband for the long term, unfortunately I don’t believe that this is Jordan Henderson.   Article by Imraan
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