It was just on the cusp of half-time when a great bit of skill by Philippe Coutinho which all but knocked Manchester United out of the Europa League. The score line was 1-1 which meant that the Red Devils had to score three more goals if they were to progress into the next round.
While that was a sign of relief for Liverpool fans, the fact that they could have actually scored earlier would still be haunting them. Jordan Henderson was one-on-one with the goalkeeper thanks to a great pass by Coutinho and he missed an open goal, well at least a goal with David de Gea already defeated.
That has been the story for Jordan Henderson ever since he joined Liverpool from Sunderland in 2011. He was young and raw then, expected to grow at the club under the leadership of Steven Gerrard, even seen as a player who could replace the legend at the club but the Englishman has flattered to deceive.
A regular now in the Liverpool team, Henderson wasn’t the player he has become now, he has gotten better but it isn’t enough for him to make a real stamp on the team. The English midfielder does have the ability to make him a top player but for someone who has taken up the captain’s armband at the club, his influence in games is often missing.
The one feature about Henderson’s game is his energy, something that Jurgen Klopp can use to great effect in his Liverpool side. It was a free role in midfield during the 2013-14 season where we saw Henderson’s best season in terms of affecting Liverpool’s result, in a good way.
Many do believe that his red card in the game against Manchester City cost Liverpool the title, since he missed three of the final games of the campaign, that was when he was in the best of form for the Reds.
This season has been stop-start for Liverpool, not only due to the form of Sturridge and company but also due to a change in management, which certainly has mixed things up for the Red side of Liverpool.
Without Steven Gerrard in the side this season, there has been a greater onus on the players such as Henderson and James Milner to pick things up but neither have really been able to do anything noteworthy so far in the campaign.
Liverpool need more bite in midfield and certainly many other top stars are being linked with a move to the Reds, with Granit Xhaka amongst them. Henderson hasn’t really set the world on fire for the Reds and has only two goals to his name all season.
It isn’t just his form which has been a problem for Liverpool, Henderson does seem to be extremely fragile and has missed many games due to a range of niggling injuries, including an ankle injury which will be a problem for the midfielder for a long time.
Henderson though is only 25 at the moment, still with plenty of time to develop and grow as a footballer. He has worked under two radically different managers in Brendan Rodgers and Jurgen Klopp, and it could be the latter who unlocks the potential that Henderson has.
Liverpool might need to sell a few players to get rid of the mediocrity at the club but Henderson cannot be one who can be given up on now. Klopp has a lot of things to do at the club and getting Henderson to the next level could be something he achieves in another 12 months’ time.