1/24/2013 12:30:00 pm

Hamann warns: LFC star must contribute 'more often' or face the axe. Fair...?

Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson is in a purple-patch of form at the moment, and his stunning goal against Norwich last weekend capped a period of sustained good performance for the club. £15m summer signing Joe Allen has gone off the boil over the last month, which provides Henderson with the perfect opportunity to make the central midfield position his own, but Anfield legend Dietmar Hamann has warned that the 22-year old still needs to up his game in one particular area.

In an interview with the official LFC website, Hamann admitted that Hendo has is a 'decent passer of the ball, with a great engine', but suggested that the midfielder could struggle to keep his place in the team unless he scores more goals. He observed:

"If he [Henderson] wants to keep his place then he needs to add goals to his game.

"We have been lacking goals from midfield this season. Steven Gerrard has got a few but no-one else in midfield has been scoring.

"Stevie and Lucas will start [and] if Henderson wants to hold down that other spot then he needs to be contributing more often".


Hamann is clearly right: With only two goals in 26 appearances this season, Henderson's goal return is just not good enough. His form has improved, but when it comes to end product, hasn't really kicked on from last season, when he grabbed just two goals in 48 appearances.

Henderson's passing/crossing accuracy have improved over last season, and he's doing slightly better on assists (3 for the whole of last year; 4 so far this campaign), but his goalscoring record is still decidedly average, and until that improves, he will remain expendable in the starting line-up. Hendo himself claims that he's not worried by the competition for places, arguing that its actually a good thing. He told The Mirror:

"I think we've got a lot of good players in the team so it's a headache every week for the manager - and that's a good thing! It makes everyone push on in training and try to improve, so if we keep playing like that we'll be alright."

It's pleasing to see Henderson improving, but I still don't see him as a long-term solution in midfield. As Hamann noted, he's merely 'decent' at what he does, and doesn't really excel in any particular aspect of the game.

If another central midfielder came to the club and played well, would Henderson even be getting a look-in? Probably not, which is why Joe Allen has dominated that role (until recently).

Jaimie Kanwar NOTE: Please stick to the Comment Policy





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38 Comments :

Alanable said...

What I do like about Hendo is that he seems a very hard working player that will try and fine tune his weak points. Since he's been at the club hes had play alot of games with no defined position. Hopefully he could get a run of games now in the one spot and make it his own.

trutherts said...

i think if he uses his oppurtunities more wisely we will see the best of him he is a pure confidence players and they seem to get better with thmore confidence they have and now as he has scored hopefully he won't be dropped and rodgers allows him to carry on building 

Darnells30 said...

This applies just as much to Allen/Shelvey or Suso, if you want to be that 3rd midfielder you need to add end product.

Simon Joseph Lau said...

Hendo is like a Dirk Kuyt on steroids played in central midfield. I would hardly consider him the most creative. Of our current lot of central midfielders, he probably is the least creative. However, in terms of pace and an engine, it really goes down to the wire between Hendo and Lucas, and his technical ability is probably right up there with Sterling's. The kid can well and truly run all day and open up spaces with his movement.


Allen and Shelvey are better suited to more open games where Allen isn't pressed and Shelvey has space to bomb forward, but that would require our flankers to hog the ball or for it to be constantly pinged high and wide. 

If we have very good attackers, of which Suarez and Sturridge definitely are, Henderson is great as a supplier who can speed through tight spaces and feed them.

Doron Snapiri said...

He's finding his feet and he works extremely hard every game lately. I think the potential he is showing is immense and who are his competitors? No-end-product Allen and Shelvey? I think he has shown much more than these two this season.
And before you slanting me for critisizing Allen and Shelvey, I actually like both.

Jason Carr said...

hendo has earned his place on merit coming on as sub and having an impact,then starting games and playing well,and if its between him allen,then imo these only one winner i find it a bit odd that were critising hendo,s goals and assists,when allen has had niether i think pepe could outscore and assist allen by the end of the season 

Nivster said...

Hendo has improved as a player and seems more confident on the ball. If you check the team that started every match during the xmas period to now - I'm 99% certain Henderson started in every match that resulted in a victory.

The 2 games he didn't start (Shelvey v Stoke and Allen v Man U) resulted in losses.

I'm not saying he is answer to Liverpool's future midfield but his form is better than Allen and Shelvey at the moment.

Sometimes players need time to settle in even though it frustrating for us fans and hopefully Hendo and Downing chip in a bit more til the end of the season. We've got to keep supporting Allen and Borini .. they will come good - can't afford to let their confidence be affected by us hating on them.

Will said...

This guy cannot catch a break can he! He scores a cracking goal, on the weekend, and has seriously improved recently, but still gets told he could lose his place, to who? Allen? What has he done to deserve a place in the team, if we are going to talk about anyone upping their game then it should be Allen. All Allen has done since signing is keep a high passing accuracy, which doesnt get you any points. Goals are what we need, and Hendo is offering more compared to him. Yes he isnt prolific, but he is my preferred choice over Allen right now.
Plus the amount of stick he got last season, but still comes out fighting and trying to do well, he deserves his place IMO.

Greg | Liverpool Kopites said...

I thought Allen started well but since then, even I could outscore and assist more than him. Very disappointing.
Hendo has done well but hard workers are a dime a dozen. Needs to have even more impact on games for him to be around for longer.

Greg | Liverpool Kopites said...

He's certainly done well to bounce back and prove some doubters wrong, but it's not that difficult to be preferred choice over Allen right now given his current form. What I'd like to see Hendo do is to get over that confidence player thing and believe that he deserves to be there. I think if he gets over that, his goalscoring and assist rate will skyrocket.

Zanatos said...

I think Hendo is a good player, but still not 100% ready yet. I`m sure over the next 3 years though he will develop into a really good player. This is one of our problems with the buy young method, it only really works if you buy young players who are ready now, otherwise you end up selling them before they are as they didn`t work out.

He does have more skill than people give him credit for, he just needs to work on performing to a higher level a lot more.

SA_Red said...

I disagree... I think Hendo has only recently re-gained his natural position in midfield, usually accommodating defensively in Lucas' absence or out wide under Kenny. He is where he is meant to play and the trio of him Lucas and Gerrard make fore formidale midfield destroyers. I've seen him put in quite a few really good performances this season, and if you look at the stats, the aforementioned trio have the best stats when compared to any other midfield trio at Liverpool (most passes, most wins, most clean sheets etc.).
Lets face it, his goal scoring technique is up there, and while he's not a world beater, I think his all round game makes up for his apparent lack of amazing factor (Like Gerrard or Lucas or Dembele or Scholes etc.).Hendo gets the nod for me as Allen does not seem up to the job and I wouldn't put anyone else in the team ahead of him bar Suso as Gerrard and Lucas are automatic starters for me...  

Pete said...

I have defended Henderson ever since the hatred of many blind fans turned his way.

Fair enough Hendo doesn't score that often, but he just proved he can score a fantastic goal, and if you have to look at his goal record to criticise him then that is a bit nitpicky because Allen so far provides no goal threat even in terms of assists, Shelvey can score but he doesn't deserve a starting spot, and Suso can't play as deep as Henderson and still help the team defensively. 

Hendo:
- Superior work rate all around the pitch and hold defensive positions well
- Good at pressing, BR speaks a lot about pressing but IMO that's one thing the players haven't fully come to terms with yet. 
- Great movement off the ball, lately he has been asked to make more forward runs, he opens up the pitch and creates options
- Always available to receive a pass. 

That's why I'd pick him ahead of Shelvey and Allen. I've argued so many times before Henderson provides the perfect balance the team needs in midfield. 

And if a 22 year old who has been constantly improving all season can't be seen as a "long term solution" then tell me what is. 

Jason Carr said...

given time i think he could prove his worth

Pete said...

I kind of disagree because Allen started ahead of Hendo V United. Every manager of course is going to prefer his signings, look at KD last season, he chose Henderson and Downing game after game even though statistically they provided nothing. So for me its fair play to Hendo, his head is always down and working hard and some of the criticism is unwarranted. He deserves his chances and deserved the great goal, to be completely honest. 

Jason Carr said...

agree m8 i would have infront of both players you mentioned

Jaimie K said...

He can improve all he likes, but if his end product continues to be sub-par, it will be irrelevant.

Work rate etc are all part of Henderson's job, but a big part of his role is to also score goals regularly. That would be different if he was playing in Lucas's role, but he's not. 

The fact that he is 'only' 22 is also a well-worn red herring. With 120 appearances under his belt, Henderson is massively experienced in the Premier League, and last season, he played more games for LFC than anyone else in the team.

He's had time to bed in and settle, and he needs to start - as Hamann says - contributing more often. Running around and pressing is great, but goals win games.

plymred said...

i used to love wathing ronnie whelan , he could play , was clever too especially sorting vinnie jones in a game at anfield

Pete said...

You raise good points but come on..How does one, especially yourself, favour Allen in the team then? Allen hadn't 'dominated' the position because he played well, it's because he is a Rodgers signing and one of his favourites. 

I know you are arguing about end product, but you need to look at other things such as his movement and the space he can make, which in turn can provide goals. 

Suso and Shelvey aren't disciplined enough, yet. Allen right now is just Henderson last season. There's more to it than goals. If Hendo misses a one on one in the box, then fine criticise him. But the onus should be on the front 3 and Gerrard to score goals before we demand goals from Henderson. It's obvious why Henderson is one of the first names on the team sheet right now, even BR can see it. Stop being so 'nitpicky'. 

Also "only 22" refers to your "long term solution", not match experience. 

L4red said...

Good article mate, just not enough goals coming from midfield, hopefully hendo,s goal v norwich may encourage him to have a pop more often, previously ive seen him bottle clear chances & look for the pass instead, Would have him in the team over allen anyday on current form.

The Dark Lord said...

Hendo may not be a long pass specialist, but he is technically good...

He makes lots of forward runs, provides more options in attack, and helps to stretch the opposition...

He does not dwell on the ball, and helps with a flowing football...

I think he offers much more compared to Allen when deployed in front of Stevie and Lucas... I hope he gets a decent run of games...

Jaimie K said...

You're right about Allen, and to be honest, I don't particularly favour him in the team at the moment. I think Hendo deserves it more right now, but both players need to up the ante in the creative stakes, and if they're not up to it, then someone else needs to come in and do it.

DecDec89 said...

Definitely......

Eric said...

Fair, yes. Good timing, no. Aside from Gerrard, I'd say Henderson and Shelvey are the ones most likely to score goals imo. I appreciate the fact that Henderson keeps his head down and lets his football do the talking. That's the difference between him and someone like Downing.

islesfan74 said...

I feel like Hendo's primary responsibility at this point is to pressure the ball, create turnovers, and retain possession.  

To me, any goals we get out of him are simply a bonus.

Perhaps my expectations are too low, but given the way he has performed up to those responsibilities, and given the way the team has subsequently performed when he's been on the pitch, I feel like he's contributing to our success. 

Simply put, the team is winning with him, and not in spite of him.

anteater said...

Henderson will be more productive when he gets a run of quite a few games in a row, at least that is what I think.

Akshay Mathur said...

You have made some excellent points mate.. \y/

VermHat said...

It isn't great to have this feeling that £30mil worth of centre-mids can't get the job done.

Greg | Liverpool Kopites said...

Not taking away anything from Hendo's hard work and commitment to fighting his way back into the team. What I meant was that it would be great if he rises beyond his confidence thing and starts believing he is good enough (not reducing any of his positive attributes). Not sure how to say it but players who go on to be something special normally have that. It'll only be good for us.

Greg | Liverpool Kopites said...

Unfortunately, if that happens, it is what it is. Hopefully, at least one of them turns good.

Greg | Liverpool Kopites said...

Has to start believing in himself more. The way he celebrated his goal against Norwich was him letting out his frustrations but if he can get past that then I believe he'll go on to improve on his end product.

Pete said...

I agree

Carl said...

Jamie, you sure your writing an article about the right player here, if any one player needs to start upping his ante and improving it's Allen, only good at going backwards and sideways, offers absolutely nothing going forwards, I see him as fast becoming another of our long list of expensive flops, hope I'm wrong but can't see it. Hendo's goals will come, he's got the taste now...

Hans said...

 Kuyt on steriods with a fraction of the goals.

Hans said...

Sorry for the misspelling, meant steroids. 

rubyrm said...

Every player who pulls on the red jersey should shift into top gear from now on. Every game must be treated as a cup final. Priority top 4. A cup win in Europa or the FA cup (or both)must be prioritized as well. It will lift the team spirits. most importantly for us fans.

NonEventHorizon said...

If his hard work keeps him in the team, it's starting to look like we might start to see a bit more of his confidence and development in his game.

I hope he comes good cause he was a fairly creative player at Sunderland and his last couple of games have shown that he is clearly capable at playing well with decent vision.

Still, I'll be just as frustrated as everyone else if he does get a run and goes back to only contributing with sideways passes and bundling players over from behind when the game waltz's past him :)

DaveWestAus said...

I,like everyone else have seen Henderson as being 'average',(in the past!),but I have now seen something different in him.(Something that Gerrard has noticed also!).He was seen in a recent match,(Norwich game I think) to take the ball away from Gerrard's feet and do something positive with it,(Gerrard was agast and threw his hands up as if to say,"what are you doing taking the ball away from me"). Henderson took the ball off his feet and did something positive with it!).He also scored that terrific goal in that game and looked really good throughout the game.It may sound laughable,but in some passages during the game he reminded me of Souness -upright(stature)and moving through the middle of the pitch,(taking control!)toward the opposition goal.(also scored a 'cracker').Given the oportunity I think he will become(as aplayer!),another Souness! 
In the past I have wondered what England managers have seen in him ,because he has hardly missed a game! I now believe they have seen a bright future for him!!! I believe he will take over Gerrards role in the near future!

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