7 Feb 2016

'No Backbone: Macca blasts Hendo; claims Liverpool missed 'world-class' £75k-a-week star vs. Sunderland

If Liverpool's Anfield capitulation against relegation-threatened Sunderland proved anything it's this: there are no real leaders in the team, and Jordan Henderson is (arguably) not fit for purpose when it comes to captaining LFC. It's not just Hendo, though - senior players like Sakho, Milner, and Lallana have also failed to show any real leadership this season, and according to ex-Red Jason McAteer, the team needs a still misses the leadership ability of 'world-class' Reds legend Steven Gerrard.

Analysing the game last night for LFC TV, Macca blasted the Reds' 'poor' performance, and indirectly criticised club captain Jordan Henderson for failing to show leadership on the field:

"Gerrard* didn’t let you switch off; he kept people organized, especially defensively. Where are the leaders in the team? Where are people pointing fingers. There's no backbone to this team".

It's easy to say that Liverpool miss Gerrard's leadership, but to be fair, the Reds put in many insipid performances on his watch, including the 6-1 hammering at Stoke City on the final day of last season.

(Misguided) fans continue to blame Brendan Rodgers for Liverpool's misfortunes this season, and whilst I don't agree with that at all, there is one thing for which I blame BR: appointing Henderson captain.

When fully fit, Hendo can be a very effective player for Liverpool (22 goals/assists last season is proof of that), but he is not LFC captain material, and I've seen nothing so far to suggest he has what it takes to lead this team. The same applies to the appointment of James Milner as vice-captain; both players were on the field against Sunderland, and neither made any leadership difference whatsoever.

Both decisions were, IMO, a massive slap in the face for Martin Skrtel, who, incidentally, is the captain of Slovakia, and recently led his team to the European Championship finals (something Gerrard failed to do for England in 2008). In my view, after 7 years at Anfield, Skrtel deserved the vice-captaincy more than Milner, as did Lucas, who'd been a loyal servant to the club for EIGHT years by the time Milner turned up.

To be fair, Liverpool are not blessed with great leadership options, but surely when selecting a captain (or VC) those with actual leadership experience/achievement should be at the top of the list? Even Mamadou Sakho - who has captained PSG and France - would've been a better option than Milner (and maybe even Henderson).

So where do Liverpool go from here? Klopp surely has to appoint his own captain next season, but it'll have to be someone he brings to the club, because right now - Skrtel aside - there are no outstanding candidates at Anfield.

On the subject of Skrtel: Some Liverpool fans repeatedly claim that he isn't vocal on the field and/or isn't captain material, but that is just nonsense. You do not captain your country to the European Championships without the ability to lead and/or communicate.

* Reportedly on £75k-a-week at LA Galaxy

Author: Jaimie K


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