9 Feb 2012

Video: Is this proof that £20m Liverpool star is not a flop?

Like fellow new(ish) signings Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing, Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson has polarised the opinion of fans this season. Some would argue that the youngster's impact has been underwhelming; that he plays it safe too often, and isn't really capable of match-winning/match-changing performances. Others fans would counter that by arguing that Henderson has great potential, and that contrary to popular belief, he is actually a very underrated player. What is the truth here: underwhelming, or underrated?

Someone on YouTube has put together this video compilation, and as the title suggests, it's allegedly shows how Henderson is underrated:

Here are Henderson's league stats for the season so far:

- Appearances: 23
- Minutes on Pitch: 1645
- Goals: 1
- Assists: 1
- Crossing success: 12.8%
- Shots on target: 10
- Conversion Rate: 4.8%
- Minutes per Goal: 1645
- Passing Accuracy: 83%
- Duels Won: 41%
- Aerial Duels Won: 40.9%
- Tackles Won: 83%

What do you think?

I'll concede that stats do not paint a complete picture of a player, but they are credible evidence of personal impact on the team, and in my view, from an attacking perspective, Henderson has been severely underwhelming so far this season.

* Conversion rate and crossing success rate are both extremely poor.

* One goal and one assist in the league is clearly not a good enough return on a 20m investment.

* On the plus side, Henderson's passing accuracy is high, but he does a lot of short sideways/backwards passes, which have probably bumped that figure up.

* Tackles won is also good, but I would rather see a greater impact in the attacking areas of Henderson's game.

Yes, Henderson may come good in two or three years, but right now, he clearly has to do better if he's going to justify a starting place every week.

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. why are we so quick to judge? first the downing and now henderson? where is your faith... these rants are the same people that is supporting the same club religiously? It's only midway through the season... give the players time. There's no instant success...

  2. Another person who wants to censor anything that is not pro-lfc. It's called having an opinion. I bet you gave hodgson loads of time, right? Just because you can't handle constructive criticism of precious players doesn't mean everyone else has to follow suit. Discussion if player performance and impact is absolutely justified.
    Sent from iPhone

  3. Price tags are misleading, I think that we need to stop comparing previous signings to the money we paid for them and start looking purely at what they are bringing to the team / squad.  I personally think Henderson has added value to the squad.  I do think that since moving into the middle he has settled better and is becoming a better player for the team.  
    I think we should learn from the  example of Lucas.  For three or four years he was slated from all angles.  Now we can't wait to get him back in the team as he is a critical part of the puzzle.  We need to allow Henderson, Carroll, Adam and Downing to do the same.  Problem is that they make up a quarter of the first team, so it feels harder to carry.  But we should be accepting that the team is doing well, considering it has had such a drastic make-over in the last year, we have been lucky that Enrique and Suarez hit the ground running.  

  4. We're quick to judge bacause we paid 20mil and if you paid that kinda amount you expect the player to be worth that kinda amount,If  it takes 2-3 year for him to improve than we shouldn't have paid that kinda $$$,GOT IT.

  5. The video didn't showcase his fancy ball tricks that he does every now and then. The kid's also got lots of pace to burn. With that kind of pace plus his bag of tricks, it is no surprise he had been played as a winger. He has only been more effective in central midfield because he's more accustomed to, and therefore more comfortable with it.

    Like Carroll, he does come across more as the type of player who would feed off his team mates rather than initiate a move, hence, he's not so invisible in the middle of the pitch. Lucas was such a player too, and like Lucas, Henderson is underrated because he is underwhelming but Henry, Bale and Ronaldo didn't exactly have brilliant first seasons either. Nani needed a few.

    Seems like a player who will be linked to Barca or Real Madrid by the time he's 25 or 26, but he's only 22 after this season. How good were Lucas or Carroll at 22?

  6. Henderson has done a decent job for Liverpool and i feel much more confident with him in the team than with Adam. Henderson provides lot of energy to the midfield and always keeps it simple. Great thing about him is he is working hard and improving with every game but his only downside is he is not contributing anything to the attack, he needs to score some goals, provide some assists, atleast try to get in the box and take few calculated risks instead of always playing safe. Though he still isn't the 20m man but he has shown enough to prove that he has the potential.

  7. Jamie ask some of the "kk knows what he's doing" brigade...did they give David Ngog a chance...insua a chance...these were players who had potential and were younger than Carroll and Henderson.

    As for downing a player at his peak?? Were dossena or morientes given the same chance..

    and they had to come from abroad and hit the ground running whilst this lot had to move up or down the country by 100miles

  8. I think of all the big money signings Henderson was a bargain. His fee was closer to 12million rising to 16 and that will be seen as a snip in a few years time. People forget how young he is and he's still adjusting to the demands of playing for a big club which is why i think thus far he has kept his passing simple. The boy clearly has something special..if you need proof check his assists in his last year at Sunderland..he will be Stevies successor no doubt about it.

  9. Barca or Real Madrid....wow, that is really out-of-this-world ambitious but hey, i won't complain if he turns out to be that good

  10. Very early days as he is young, even though he played in PL regularly for Sunderland, as this is a bigger stage. Seems a bit too shy and conservative when it comes to passing at the moment and taking clever risks, i.e., give-and-go moves to help create space and penetration, as its just too flat and square in midfield with him. Me thinks he would be better off out wide, especially if he hasn't got the subtle risks in him that a top central midfielder should have, as he has the pace and crossing to be a wide player.

    He has been alright, for his first season at the club, at his age.

    Early days for anyone to call him a 'bargain' (as labelled above), that is for sure.

    Definitely a work in progress. 

  11. He has ability but not the mental attitude to play at the very highest level. 

  12. Shelvey is looking more like the next Stevie. Shelvey has the bold and ambitious passing, the fearlessness(or rashness) and the hunger to score and is always demanding the ball, always trying to create something. Henderson is cooler, safer, always looking to support instead of taking charge, more like a Lampard with Joe Cole's technical ability and Carrick's brain for want of a comparison. It would be more accurate to say Henderson is really quite special in that the balance he has is quite unique. He's the kind of player you'd want racing down the flank beside you that you could play 1-2's off, the way Pennant did with Arbeloa. Pity neither Johnson, Gerrard nor Adam are the short passing kind. Put him with Jay and Lucas and they can run around all day doing a Barca. Not quite a pass master, but a clever player and hence a potentially worthy candidate of Alonso's jersey.

  13. Jaimie, at least WBA have learnt their lesson and are not rushing to change their manager.  Around this time last year they fired their preivous manager for... having (virtually) the same league record as Hodgson this season.  With the England spot free, maybe you can get him as the Manager.

    Jokes aside, I agree everyone is entitled to his opinion and I absolutely agree with your thoughts on Henderson.

  14. I think Henderson will come good eventually, he has shown glimpses of real talent and he is physically fit and built for the PL. However, I have been reading your blog for a while now silently and some of the comments always amaze me. The idea that KD is building a team to be world class in 5 years when he is on a (reluctantly given) 2 year contract defies logic. He earned that contract with results in the trial period he was given and then this year he was given an objective of Champions League Football which it would appear would earn him an extension to the usual 4-6 year contracts that managers usually sign (Guardiola being the exception). Although most fans are living in a dream world, I'm sure KD was under no illusions when he entered the transfer market, he needed players that would come in and do the job straight away (albeit within an FSG frame of being young with resale value), that is the reason he bought players with PL experience, who he thought could do exactly what they were doing with their previous clubs at Liverpool. 

    If Carroll scored 11 goals by December, you would back him to get at least another 5 by May right? If Downing could feed players like Delfounso and Bent, week in, week out, then Carroll should be no problem right? Adam was starring for Blackpool, knocking around fancy passes in an expansive tactical system (which conceded like 3 goals a week), he could come in to Liverpool and pass it well right?* Not to mention Henderson, who was always around the goals and assists at Sunderland when he was there, but now seems to now be the pass before the pass before the pass.

    PL Football doesn't always translate easily with foreigners. But it doesn't mean that it is any easier with domestic players. I think Kenny bought players with a view of what they could do for Liverpool immediately from what they already did for their clubs, rather than taking more risks on players who would arguably suit his own footballing philosophy (pass and move, not hit the big man) who would probably be foreign (only 4 english players are capable of pass and move atm) and build something of a dynasty at Liverpool.

    Our new owners are great, but they are also astute businessmen. A similar performance like this come next December/January, and Kenny will probably not be sacked, but his contract allowed to run down to give him a more gracious exit. And the 2 year experiment will be over.

  15. To me this shows the selfishness of Dalglish,he knew he had to do something to get the job fulltime,so even though he said he would spend the money as though it was his own he didnt.Wenger has Arsenals best interests at heart,he bought oxy chamberlain for £10m and anyone can see he is going to be fantastic.Wenger said he would never bankrupt Arsenal he would always put Arsenals future above self gain like spending £35m on carroll did he mean.Surely a club of LFCs stature shouldnt be spending all the money on so called potential then use them most of the time.We need a team now to compete to get into europe,when Rafa was here we were right up in the money list now were down to ninth for the 2010-11 season so god knows were well be after this season,deloitte said LFC need european football,anyone who  cannot see this is were the wealth of the club comes from and would rather have the tinpot league cup must be deluded.

  16. Sorry but while I respect your opinion, I have to completely disagree.  This is not about KD keeping his job, it is about buying young British players, who want to come to your club and whose clubs are willing to do business.  Sometimes you Id an player and pay over the odds, sometimes you get lucky.  
    We need to stop turning every signing / game / action into an agenda for our personal views on who should or should not be manager / owner / shirt sponsor or what ever.
    Is Henderson good enough for LFC - Yes, is he in my all time fav player list - No.  Will I support him - Yes.  Do I still care about the transfer fee - No why, because it is history and nothing we do now will change it, however our support can help to make Henderson and all of the signings better players, if not they will be moved on...

  17. henderson is a great player. well see that against them scumbags on saturday.

  18. Decent but, sorry, Wenger got the better deal with Chamberlain, by far.

    Nothing to suggest that he is going to worth much more in coming seasons. So, if that is the case, why didn't we buy someone who could do a job now? We talked about Shaqiri, going to Bayern now, and he is the same age. And, sorry, he is 10 times better.

    Kenny has wasted a lot of the club's money.