In Praise Of Jordan Henderson

During Liverpool’s 2-1 win at Villa Park on Sunday, I was surprised to hear the co-commentator Alan Smith award the man of the match honour to Steven Gerrard.

Sure, the Liverpool captain scored the winner (which was his second in three league games after three-and-a-half years without one) and acrobatically cleared a goal bound shot off the line, but overall I felt he didn’t contribute as much as Jordan Henderson did.

The Tomkins Times run a stats round up after every match (the latest of which you can read here, if you’re a subscriber), where they list the top three Liverpool performers for various stats. Surprisingly, Henderson didn’t feature anywhere, so it seems his performance was based on a solid performance in a variety of areas, rather than shining in one.

I’ve checked the former Sunderland man’s stats, and they certainly read like he had a hugely impressive performance. For instance:

Passing – Hendo was unlucky to miss out on a top three spot, as he only attempted three fewer than third-placed Lucas, and at 88% accuracy he out performed the three listed in that regard. Although Jordan wasn’t too involved in the final third, he did have the Reds’ highest passing accuracy for the Villa half of the pitch – 84%.

Shooting – Just the one shot, but he certainly made it count! Not for him the wasteful shooting of Glen Johnson (3/3 blocked) or Stewart Downing (3/4 blocked). You can see below on the diagrams (taken from Squawka) that both of Liverpool’s right sided players made terrible decisions when opting to shoot. The short distance that the shots travelled indicates clearly that there wasn’t decent enough space to get a shot on target, especially when considering the distance they were shooting from:

ImageImage

Plus of course Henderson’s goal came as a result of one of football’s great unmeasureables: the perfectly timed run into space. The picture below demonstrates this beautifully:

ImageCreativity – Henderson set up teammates with shooting opportunities three times, which is how many top chance creators average per game, and they all came in open play (whereas some players like Gerrard, or Baines at Everton, boost their tallies with set-piece chances).

Possession – Jordan only lost possession twelve times in the whole match, and made a whopping six interceptions (which is very impressive considering that the top performers in Europe’s big five leagues average around four per game).

On top of all of this, Henderson now has three goals and two assists in his last seven league starts, and he’s only played the full ninety minutes in three of those matches.

To be honest, it baffles me as to why he hasn’t played more, especially considering that Joe Allen has been carrying an injury. I certainly hope Henderson plays in all of Liverpool’s remaining games, and remains at Anfield for years to come.

Stats taken from EPLIndex. Please check out my other articles, and follow me on Twitter or via Facebook. Thanks.

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14 thoughts on “In Praise Of Jordan Henderson

    • That he has only made 9 starts in 31 games when fit throughout (I think?) baffles me.

      Had you asked who were the ‘Rodgers’ type players when Brendan took over, I’d have thought most Reds would’ve put Henderson in there, yet he’s barely had a look in. Weird.

  1. Coming with £20m fee meant he was under pressure to deliver straight away but with time I think he will eventually become worth £20m. This season he has shown glimpses of player he could become IMO. I too hope he plays rest of the games this season. Not least because it will probably mean that we will play with 3 central midfielders which we need to do for sure.

    • His fee wasnt close to £20m Robert. From Comolli we know it was less than £16m and best guess from reading between the lines and what different journos etc have said seems to be £14m. That was still too much.

      I’m a big Henderson fan and have backed him from day one. I can’t understand how Rodgers doesn’t see him as a Rodgers type player, he’s got the touch, passing, ability to keep the ball under pressure and a brilliant engine to cover ground. I’d live to know why Rodgers doesn’t seem to rate him higher.
      One idea I’ve heard was to protect him from being over played like last year and give him time for a ‘reboot’ of his LFC career so to speak

  2. Great stuff Beez. I too had the impression that Henderson shone. Good to know I’m right about the odd thing occasionally!

    I think Henderson’s omissions this season (which have surprised me too- he’s this year’s Maxi) could be down to a one Mr S Gerrard playing every single minute of the campaign so far. Kudos to the physio team for managing him so well, but I’m not sure I can see that happening next season, sadly (especially with Gerrard still a regular international, and turning 33 in May). This being the case, we could see many more opportunities for Jordan next season- provided we keep him, of course! Fingers crossed.

    • Cheers Neil. Such a shame that there has to be a new Maxi – we do we often seem to have excellent yet underused players. Perhaps Maxi was the new Litmanen?!

      As for Gerrard – nothing wrong with being 33 ;-) Though I speak as a blogger rather than a footballer!

  3. Totally agree, well done for looking beyond the obvious
    I believe he has taken a bit of time to settle into the one touch passing game that BR advocates. But, he is getting there.
    Henderson is hard working, has excellent ball control, a great long pass, confident in front of goal, he can only improve with time. An essential part of Liverpools future.

  4. Good article and agreed. I swear GlenJo hit the woodwork in that match though, that diagram seems to indicate otherwise.

    • Yeah I’ve been asked on Twitter about the Johnson shot, and unfortunately I don’t know the answer. I assume that as it was deflected it may count as blocked. Not sure though.

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