5 Mar 2015

Rodgers: 'Wonderful' £20m LFC star must 'mature' in one vital area before he becomes 'even better'

Liverpool stand-in captain Jordan Henderson put in another impressive display against Burnley tonight, and with a goal and an assist during the game, the midfielder is categorically proving that he has what it takes to step-up and lead the team. Hendo still needs to improve, though, and after the game, Reds boss Brendan Rodgers punctuated his usual gross overpraise with a rare smidgen of reality.

In his post-match press conference, Rodgers hailed £20m Henderson's 'wonderful' performance, but noted that he needs to improve in one specific area. He told reporters:

"Technically, you see his [Henderson's] qualities. His passing is improving [and] as he matures even more tactically, he'll become even better. He's always had athleticism and tactically he's improving all the time".

Over the years, tactical indiscipline has been an issue with quite a few Liverpool players, including Steven Gerrard, who used to regularly abandon his post in central midfield to gallivant around all areas of the pitch. As (ostensibly) a box-to-box midfielder, Henderson also roves around the field like Gerrard, and that sometimes leaves the Reds exposed in the middle, and can also lead to undue pressure on the defence.

Prime example: in the second half of tonight's game, a Burnley defender played the ball back to the goalkeeper, and Hendo sprinted from all the way from midfield to close the 'keeper down. The goalie then promptly whacked the ball upfield, leaving Henderson grossly out of position, and Liverpool's defence a little more exposed that it needed to be.

In that situation, it should be Sturridge closing down the 'keeper - there's no need for Henderson to abandon his post in that manner, but like Gerrard, his exuberance and passion often get the better of him. It's great that Henderson has the stamina and enthusiasm to get involved like that, but he'd be better off playing smarter in those situations.

It's not really a major issue, but against a better team, that kind of positional indiscipline could cost Liverpool, and it has in the past. The Reds being overrun in midfield is sometimes a major problem, and tactical naivete is often the cause. As such, it's no surprise that Rodgers feels Henderson needs to 'mature' tactically, and that will come with experience.

At the start of the season, I argued that Henderson needed to step-up and regularly contribute goals and assists, and with 5 goals/12 assists in 41 games so far, he's doing a decent job, but his goal ratio is still not good enough.

Henderson should be contributing a bare minimum of 10-12 goals per season (IMO), and with over two months of the season to go, he has a great chance to achieve that.

Author:



58 comments:

  1. I think if he scored 10 goals in a season it would be an excellent return. He's had a couple of good games and it may well continue to fall to Henderson to pick up those balls outside the box and lash them into the top corner. More often than not it won't work out but I'd say they are really his only goal scoring opportunities. As you say with the example of pressing the keeper, there should be players in more advanced positions than Henderson basically for the whole match. For me that means he should be looking to pass first and take a shot only if there are no other good options. He won't be taking penalties so to be a truly "central" midfielder and score 10 goals in a season is top notch for me.

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  2. It's just such a typical United win. Play poorly and then get lucky courtesy of a f*** up by the other team.

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  3. newcastle were begging untied to take all three points with their numerous errors..

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  4. If it's any consolation, Newcastle are shocking at the moment anyway, and I kind of expected United to win easily before the match.

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  5. They should of had a pen early on though...

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  6. Great goal by Hendo. Credit where credits due his goal was a quality one and his assist oozed confidence. Hendo needs to develop this sort of consistency in terms of his final output but he's on the right track. Keep it up Mr straight back!

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  7. I know mate I was thinking the same thing. Surely they'll get found out soon. Really fancy us to turn them over at Anfield

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  8. Don't think they will get away with it as much against us, Chelsea, City and Spurs. You could arguably say that it didn't even work today, as their goal was totally reliant on a double blunder by Newcastle. At least they've scored on the back of their own skill in other wins they've laboured, but today was pure luck.

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  9. It's OK, we'll wreck them an Anfield. 3-0 within 25 minutes. They really are a poor football team and Newcastle should have done them in quite comfortably.

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  10. No, I think you got it right. Manchester Untied.

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  11. Henderson has 2 playmakers, a striker and arguably 2 more wide midfielders playing ahead of him, he is already overachieving with this stats he's got this season. The numbers you've mentioned should be targets for the likes of Coutinho, Sterling, Lallana.

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  12. I know, but the frustrating thing is, a lot of teams should have done them in quite comfortably, yet didn't. I don't know what it is...

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  13. Balotelli has taken a little subtle dig at Rodgers on Instagram... :(

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  14. Not to mention roles in the team are different. If he was a true Box to Box midfielder, 10-12 would be a bit more realistic. However, Hendo's role is much more limited to basically being a metronome on the field, with some creative license. We play with 2 AMs, so the cumulative goal scoring from the midfield as a unit is naturally going to fall to Coutinho and Lallana rather than Hendo and Allen/Lucas. For me, the more telling stat is his assist total, which signals that he is very much involved in the goal scoring, just not as the final touch. He's not going to be in the box often, so asking for 10 goals is basically asking for 10 goals from outside the box. Not impossible or even surprising, but not necessarily something I would expect. At deeper areas, I would rather he passed to a player in a more dangerous position and get the assist than try at a goal.

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  15. Webb's ghost.

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  16. IMO he has. To translate what he said into more fluent English, 'someone doesn't like me, but despite what he says about me, I'm a team player and I'm so proud of my team, of this win and these fans'.

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  17. He clearly meant to say: some 'people' don't like me, but despite what they say about me, I'm proud of my team, this win, and these fans. That makes the most sense in the context of the image he posted,

    Plus, it doesn't make any sense for the statement to be about Rodgers. Balotelli hints that 'they' have said negative things about him, and Rodgers has never done that.

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  18. Rodgers actually publicly slammed Mario for not working hard enough against Besiktas in the home leg, so I would count that as something negative that Rodgers said about him. I'm not too sure that having a go at Rodgers would be too out of context with the photo.

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  19. Webb was sitting in the stands muttering charms and hexes to help United

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  20. Where did my reply go?! Surely it wasn't deleted...

    Well as I said in that missing reply, Rodgers actually did say something negative about Mario, when he chastised him after the Besiktas Anfield leg for not working hard enough after he scored the penalty. Adding to that, Rodgers completely ignored him as a sub for tonight, and used Lambert instead. I don't think that having a dig at Rodgers is out of context with that picture.

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  21. Dont worry so much about top 4 and look at the future - we have a fantastic squadf now and the best manager by miles. Glad the B R bashers are mouthing less thses days - COME ON REDS

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  22. Think BR was referring to JH's gait!

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  23. Am I going mad or does Rodgers usually say such things as "he still has a lot to learn" or " he's not yhe finished article"?

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  24. Lampard is the only midfielder I can think of to do that regularly and he would play more like a second striker than a CM.

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  25. Odd Jaimie you wanting the quote to come out correctly. I tried to dobthat on the other article about the agent talking about Rafa yet my post was deleted. Twice. Is this kind of thing important to you or not?

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  26. How about when we played against a better team on Sunday when Can wanted to join the attack at least 3 times when Hendo went couple of steps in reverse to leave him up against two players which forced him back? Nobody saw that? He is superb regarding tactical positioning and pressing.

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  27. Spot on. Plus whenever Gerrard plays Hendo has in front of him a player who can(could) shoot and pass better than any other player in the league who is also the captain and can't run half of is needed. Expecting more from him is utter madness..

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  28. How does it do your head in? We did it all through the Houllier years

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  29. All of our midfielders are benefitting from Gerrard being out it's as simple as that. They have been unleashed to show what they can do and Henderson is showing he some of the ability Stevie has. Coutinho has the other bit. So it's taking us two positions to bring what Stevie brought on his own but that's ok as long as there is balance, which, in my opinion is probably more present now than it has been the past couple of years when Stevie played. That's not down to Gerrard, that's down to those that play with him. Alonso and Mascherano never had a problem keeping up with him.

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  30. How is it not annoying when the team you're trying to haul down keeps undeservedly staying just in front of us while they're playing awfully? You think you'll finally over take them, only for them to f***ing fluke it again.

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  31. Why are you deleting all of my replies? Please respond.

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  32. My comment vanished, so here I go again...

    How about when we played against a better team on Sunday when Can wanted to join the attack at least 3 times when Hendo went couple of steps in reverse to leave him up against two players which forced him back? Nobody saw that? He is superb regarding tactical positioning and pressing.

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  33. Their luck will run out soon enough. They still have to visit us at Anfield for starters

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  34. I've never seen a side be as consistently lucky as them. They've been like this from day 1 of the season, so it makes me wonder whether their absolute bulls***, flukey luck will even continue at Anfield.

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  35. Read the entire interview, nothing over the top...

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  36. Jordan Henderson is joint sixth in the PL assists chart and only two of the five players ahead of him have scored more goals than him too.

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  37. They've got a lot of good players but not a good team. Totally unbalanced

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  38. He'd have 10-12 this season if he ever took penalties. That's a pretty shaky metric to judge a midfielder by.

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  39. Who cares... Always an excuse for Balotelli. He'll be gone come the summer

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  40. Yeah but only if they can find a buyer it may not be so easy.

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  41. I don't recognise the Stevie you are alluding to in your post, for me he hasn't been that player for the last 2 to 3 years. His absence from the team the last couple of games has given BR a case for not playing him in the PL games. IMO.

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  42. It's his way of not letting any of our players develop Zidane complexes before they earn it.

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  43. Heyyyyyyyy Jaimie I made a comment earlier and now it's gone. I've checked all the thin air and it's nowhere to be seen. I don't recall it being offensive!

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  44. Gerrard is not immune to getting older of course but he is Steven Gerrard. Being in a Liverpool midfield with him means he is boss in that midfield.

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  45. Rodgers has been publicly slamming Mario from the day he signed, calling him a "risk", then a couple of days later admitting Mario was a step below the quality of striker he wanted, and was signed only because BR was desperate for a striker after his actual targets fell through, this after slamming Mario's ego after his agent asked where the press conference to announce his signing was going to be, and saying that MB's previous managers who say they should be paid double to manage Mario are correct, and and and... Rodgers has said loads negative about him.

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  46. It got caught by the word filter. It's live now.

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  47. Ah. Out of interest, what was the word? Actually, don't bother answering that, because it won't get past the filter *chuckles*

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  48. True. Reckon someone will take him on loan at least

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  49. Boss in the sense he is our captain and a loved and respected figure, but as an influential 'take the game by the scruff of the neck' boss; unfortunately I think that is not in his game anymore!

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  50. I agree we are probably looking at Hendo getting 10 at the maximum, if you look at other 'box-to-box' midfielders.
    Say: Ramires at Chelsea- 17 games 1 goal 4 assists.
    Yaya Toure- 21 games 7 goals 1 assists.
    Aaron Ramsey- 19 games 3 goal 2 assists.
    Paul Pogba- 21 games 6 goals 2 assists.
    Jordan Henderson- 27 games 4 goals 7 assists.
    Yes he's played more game than all of the above, but comparing to Toure and Pogba, who are deemed world class, he has a few more assists than and close to same goals. It could also be argued the other players mentioned play in better teams...or at least teams who had a goal scorer available before January.
    So in terms of goals- 8-10, for me, would constitute a great goalscoring season and 10+ assists is always going to be near the top of assist charts at the end of the season. Neither of these are impossible by the end of this season, let alone future seasons.

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  51. I no yet pure luck them mancs last night I had a seven team accumulater bet all my teams were comment through for 680 pounds guess what team scored in the last Minute the manc twats I was gutted I put a draw for them and wen I seen that goal Manu scored I was even more pissed off i mean why didn't Newcastle just clear the ball instead off the krul passing to Ashley young what an awful clearance what a fluke of a goal am still gutted now and it could of ment liverpool drew level on points with united

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  52. If only Redknapp was still at QPR!

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  53. BR hit the nail on the head. It should of beem D Studs chasing ball down. To me DS needs to improve in alot of areas at the moment. I cant fault his goal return. If he improves in passing, tracking back and a few other areas, DS would be worldie

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  54. Yep, Rodgers has whipped him from day 1, and I don't see how taking a crpytic swipe at BR is out of context with the photo at all.

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  55. Its been a long long time since I've been looking forward to an Us v Man U game....


    I feel we gonna rip them a new one.....

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