Jordan Henderson explains Jürgen Klopp's thinking behind his Liverpool midfield move and why Fabinho has been key
Captain Jordan Henderson says his burning desire to contribute more to Liverpool's pursuit of a dream double led to him asking Jürgen Klopp to consider changing his role.
The long-serving Reds midfielder revealed that he held talks with his manager prior to last week's trip to Southampton about the prospect of playing further forward.
Henderson has been largely used as a holding midfielder during Klopp's reign, but having shone in an advanced position for England last month he felt that the time was right to be let off the leash on club duty.
Klopp agreed and Henderson's response has been emphatic. There was a goal and an assist after coming off the bench in the victory at St Mary's and then he was a creative force throughout Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final first leg win over Porto at Anfield.“Me and the gaffer just had a conversation,”
Henderson said.“I don't think the manager had thought about it too much until I mentioned it to him. It was something that he said he would think about.
“The manager might not have seen me in that position too much. Obviously he'd seen the England games, I felt good in the England games playing in that position.
“I felt more comfortable and natural in that position, creating chances further up and doing what I enjoy doing. At the same time when I played No.6, I felt I’ve learned that position really well and if I need to play there I can do a job there.
“I can do both positions and he sees that I can do both. It’s basically about what he wants and needs from the team. In certain games he might want me to play deeper.
“For me as a captain and as a player at this football club, I always put the team first. I do whatever the manager tells me to do really.
“But when we had the conversation I felt that I could speak my mind. I want to contribute as much as I can to the team. I feel as though I can do that more in a further forward position.”
The 28-year-old, who played in an attacking role during his early years at Anfield, was reinvented as a holding midfielder by Klopp and has effectively sacrificed himself for the side in recent seasons.
However, he believes the growing influence of Fabinho as a shield in front of the back four this term has led to Liverpool being less reliant on his defensive qualities.
The £40million Brazil international has now firmly established himself in Klopp's side after a slow start following his move from Monaco last summer.“In the last couple of years there hasn't really been a player like Fabinho in that role so I've had to adapt to it,”
Henderson said.“I think I've done quite well. I think if you look at Fab, it's quite natural to him. That's his position and he's so good at what you need to do in that position.
“I just thought that might give me a bit more licence to get forward more at times but you never know. The manager wants me in both positions which is good for me and for the team.”
Henderson has certainly looked energised by the shackles coming off. It was his perfectly weighted pass which helped create the second goal for Roberto Firmino against Porto.
he skipper provided a number of other quality deliveries, including the cross which Sadio Mane converted, only for an offside flag to curtail the celebrations.
His all-action display, reminiscent of the performances he served up in Liverpool's last title challenge in 2013/14, was such that Klopp jokingly apologised for previously playing him in the wrong position for the past 18 months.
Henderson added: “If that’s come up that's a good thing I suppose!
“I’ve obviously enjoyed playing in that role, I played it when I first came but for a couple of years I’ve played in a deeper role.
“I still feel that I adapted well. It’s another string to my bow that I can play both. I’m enjoying just playing and trying to contribute higher up the pitch in the final third.
“When I first came I played right wing but I felt as though that when I was at my best and playing well I was playing further forward in that No.8 position.
“I was sort of a box-to-box midfielder when the manager first came. In the last couple of years I’ve adapted well to being a No.6 and I can do that as well.
“It’s just whatever the manager wants me to do and what the team needs me to do. When I play the deeper position my role changes and I try to do different things and I can’t effect it as much in the final third.
“But against Porto and in the last game, when I play in that position, I feel as though I can make a difference going forward as well.”https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/liverpool-captain-jordan-henderson-explains-16110267.amp?__twitter_impression=true
If Hendo settles back in that 8 role and plays similar or higher to that exceptional level he showed in 13/14 season, I think it could shift our team to another gear.