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How Does This Star Fit into the Liverpool Midfield under Klopp?

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One of the changes that Jurgen Klopp pulled off in his first win against Chelsea was taking the captain of the club, James Milner and replacing him with Christian Benteke. The change paid off instantly as the Belgian helped set up one goal and scored the third for Liverpool. While no one complained about the result, it did spring one issue to the mind, James Milner was a midfielder, who was promised by Klopp’s predecessor of playing in midfield, while that has not happened under Klopp, the real captain of Liverpool, Jordan Henderson must be fretting about his place in the starting XI.

Injuries to the captain, can he make it back?

Jordan Henderson was expected to be out for two months after feeling some pain in his heel, this took place during the games against Stoke and Bournemouth in August but while training he broke a metatarsal. He is set to return quicker than expected and that will be a huge relief to many Liverpool supporters but putting him into a team that is actually doing well at the moment might be a tough ask.

Liverpool Klopp

Liverpool are unbeaten under Klopp and are now slowly playing in a way that a Jurgen Klopp team does. The crux of the play is based on the hard work of the entire team, the pushing and pressing from almost every player are the reasons why Liverpool can attack quicker, but also they need to dominate possession, something that wasn’t the case for Klopp’s initial years as a manager.

The team dominated possession in every 15-minute session barring the last 15 minutes against Chelsea when they were happy to soak up the pressure after going up 2-1. Liverpool’s midfield duo of Lucas Leiva and Emre Can were the two players who spent the most time breaking up attacks and pressurising the Chelsea team.

Both players are known for their exceptional work rate and they just fit perfectly in Klopp’s playing style for now. Emre Can was always expected to play a bigger role this season and fortunately for the German he is playing in his preferred role of a central midfielder rather than a central defender or a right back like he was doing last season under Brendan Rodgers.

brendan rodgers

More than just his position, it is the passion and commitment that he brings to the team that should help him keep his place. Lucas, on the other hand, has been a bit of a surprise, he wasn’t that big in the plans for Liverpool under Rodgers, but Klopp has given him a starring role and he was great against Chelsea, albeit a little lucky to avoid getting sent off. It could be the Brazilian who makes way for Henderson, who himself is a player that can run miles on end.

James Milner could be the other player that makes way for Henderson on the right side of midfield. Henderson can play down the right, but that would not be his natural position, what could be done is Henderson is given a more advanced role in front of the two holding midfielders which would be Milner and Can. To accommodate Henderson we could see a front trio of Benteke, Coutinho and Firmino, Lallana would probably end up on the bench.

Liverpool's Jordan Henderson
Jordan Henderson

Liverpool have a lot of options and getting them all fit would be important if they want to get back into the top four, but Klopp might have too many options to fit into his squad. He does need to play Henderson in the starting XI, but that would mean causing a few frowns on the bench.