Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will find the task of replacing Jordan Henderson harder than any other when the time comes to consider who succeeds him, one pundit has surprisingly claimed.
The Reds were enjoying a dominant domestic campaign before the season was suspended, closing in on their first top-flight title success in 30 years.
But despite that, boss Klopp is refusing to rest on his laurels and is looking to upgrade the one position in the Liverpool team that is sometimes up for debate.
While Henderson has been a dominant force this season and Gini Wijnaldum a consistent performer, the likes of Naby Keita and Fabinho since his return to fitness have not quite had the same impact – leading Klopp to consider reinforcements.
And while the likes of Virgil van Dijk and attackers Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah are referred to as Liverpool’s crown jewels and often linked with high-profile transfers away, pundit Danny Mills has, perhaps controversially, claimed it would be Henderson who would be toughest in Klopp’s well-oiled Reds machine to replace.
“He will be the hardest player to replace – his drive, ambition, desire and professionalism.
“Henderson is not getting any younger. You have Wijnaldum, Keita, Fabinho and Oxlade-Chamberlain coming into form, but Henderson is the driving force.
“Trying to find a replacement for him will be the hardest thing for Liverpool to do.”
Liverpool captain Henderson still has three years remaining on the deal he signed back in 2018 and it seems the club are, currently, in no hurry to extend that arrangement.
Henderson has made 359 appearances for the Reds since arriving in a £20m switch from home-town club Sunderland in July 2011 and lifted the European Cup as captain last June.
Gerrard in Henderson tribute
One thing Henderson has in spades is guts and determination and his former teammate Steven Gerrard is adamant that has played a part in Liverpool’s dominance of late.
“They just seem to be getting better and stronger every single year,” Gerrard told Sky Sports’ Football Show.
“I think the one key thing that has blown me away from when I played – what they seem to have now is mental strength across the board.
“We used to have some really good professionals and mentally strong players in our squad but now it seems that from No1 in the squad to player 26 mentally they’re all monsters and are all on the same page.
“To have a squad that has that mentality I’m really excited to watch them in the coming years because I think they have a fantastic opportunity to become a really successful Liverpool team, and that’s what we all want as Liverpool fans.
“They’ve been phenomenal for a few years now. I thought they were very unlucky last year not to be champions. That was just down to how good Man City were.”
Gerrard also paid tribute to Henderson for his role in helping to organise the #PlayersTogether initiative to raise funds for the NHS during the current pandemic.
“That just sums him up as a person. He’s a very selfless person on and off the pitch.
“I think he’s got better and better from a football point of view. But as a person I think what he’s done over the last couple of weeks sums him up. He’s a fantastic man and a role model to a lot of young kids.”
One man who could potentially fulfil a similar role in the Liverpool side to Henderson is Inter Milan’s Marcelo Brozovic. Here his agent has offered an interesting update on his client’s future amid talk of interest from the Reds.