13 Dec 2013

Lawro blasts: £20m Reds star offers 'nothing' to LFC & fails to 'effect' games. Harsh...?

Reds midfielder Jordan Henderson is one of Liverpool's most improved players over the last year, and a series of hard-working performances seem to have endeared the £20m star to the majority of LFC fans. Anfield legend Mark Lawrenson is still not convinced, however, and he's questioned whether Hendo is worth a place in the team.

In a recent column for the Liverpool Daily Post, Lawro delivered a withering verdict on Henderson's talents. He scathed:

"I’m sorry, but while he [Henderson] might run around a lot, I’m still not entirely convinced what he offers.

"I don’t like picking on him, but how does Henderson effect the game? When he doesn’t play particularly well, there is nothing in midfield. Nothing".

At first glance, Lawro'd comments seem a little harsh, but does he have a point? I think he does: what exactly is Henderson's specific, measurable impact on the current Liverpool FC team? He's (ostensibly) an attacking midfielder, and is usually the most advanced central midfielder in the team. As such, Hendo's primary role in the team is to score goals, provide assist, and create goalscoring chances. On that basis, how is he doing?

Henderson Stats:

* 2011-12: 2 goals/3 assists in 48 apps.

* 2012-13: 6 goals/6 assists in 44 apps.
* PREM chances created: 33 (1.1 per game)

* 2013-14: 1 goals/1 assist in 17 apps.
* PREM chances created: 26 (1.7 per game)

* TOTAL: 9 goals/10 assists in 109 apps.
* Goal every 12 games.
* Assist every 11 games.
* Goal/Assist every 5.7 games.

Stats: OPTA

Whatever way you slice it, these figures are not good enough. It's harsh to suggest that Henderson provides 'nothing' in midfield, but his goal/assist ratio needs drastic improvement if he's to maintain his place in the team. Yes, Hendo is a nice, hardworking guy with a great attitude, but to be brutally honest, he is not doing his job effectively.

Take this season, for example: no goals for the last FIFTEEN LFC games. How can an attacking midfielder with that record justify a consistent starting place? Chance creation is one thing, but actually making a specific impact on the team is what matters, and history shows that Henderson is NOT a consistent goal scorer/creator.

Hendo's paucity in front of goal underlines once again why Liverpool need more top class creative midfielders in the squad. Henderson's place needs to be under threat; he needs to feel the fire, but right now, there is no one really challenging his position, and that's not good for the team.

Henderson received a lot of criticism for his debut season at Anfield, but this site did not jump on the bandwagon and constantly criticise him. Unlike, say, Andy Carroll (and to a lesser extent, Stewart Downing) it was clear he had the talent to improve, but when an attacking midfielder is struggling to score/create goals consistently in his THIRD season at the club, there's obviously an issue somewhere that needs to be addressed.

Liverpool legend Steven Nicol also believes the Reds need a replacement and/or competition for Henderson. He told TalkSport recently:

"They [LFC] have to make a signing in the middle of the park. I don’t think Jordan Henderson has shown he can [take over from Steven Gerrard]. He can certainly do it physically. He can get around the field but whether he has the knowledge and the understanding of the game to play in there we have yet to see.”

Clearly, Hendo has nothing to worry about, though; Brendan Rodgers' cloying man-love for him means that he'll probably continue to start every game irrespective of creative output.



  1. We're second in the table, best start to the league in years and guess what Henderson has started every game. Clearly this "man-love" is not hindering the team.

  2. Being in great shape and running about a lot should be the MINIMUM requirement for all Liverpool players not the maximum!, he can't pass other than short, hes not a great tackler, he cant dribble, no skills, crap shot and when the going gets tough he gets going......in the other direction, major weak link and Liverpool can do much better than Henderson!.

  3. Henderson epitomises the problems Liverpool have had for the last few years.

    Yes he's an honest, hard working player and yes he's improved a fair bit over the last year or so.

    So he's a decent player, but that's all. We've lost too many players like Alonso and Mascherano, and replaced them with too many like Henderson, Allen, Downing etc.

  4. Yes running around and the physical aspect should be additional
    quality.Like BVB non stop running and pressing. But everyone highly
    technically proficient

  5. Stats don't tell everything, he doesn't chip in with goals or assists I agree, but if he were to be replaced by another player in the Coutinho mould, the more physical teams will overpower our midfield. Henderson is an integral part of how Rodgers wants the team to push forward as a team, defending from the front has allowed Liverpool to close teams down and put them under pressure, having someone (aswell as Suarez) do that throughout the match IMO counterbalances the goals and assists he fails to make. To be honest it's not like he needs to, Liverpool are not exactly short of goals at the moment, personally I want to see more production from the wide players.

  6. are midfield lacks skill....bring suso back... hendo is a work horse....no creative skills...he works hard but its not enough..lucas does,t have the flair either...the spanish lad we bought should play.....

  7. confidence is the key - a manger should see this and big him up to achieve what we know he can achieve - never be scared to keep going on his runs., not stopping and passing backwards and sidewards

  8. The difference between being good and challenging for the title/CL over a whole season is winning the matches you're supposed to win. A top 2 team isn't supposed to lose to Hull and Southampton and draw with Swansea. The reason we lost those points was total lack of control of the middle of the field. Yes we're second now, but you are either getting better or you're dying in this league. I prefer the former.

  9. So nobody ever mentions how he plays right back, right mid, right wing back, and center mid and @mark down there i am questioning your knowledge of the EPL, cuz i know for a fact that he must have some kind of shot, passing range and first tought aka skills to even be playing in the prem or be playing any type of footy. Maybe you should watch some of the LFC skill challenge on you tube and watch how he is technically sound in every way or form. I believe he suffers from trying to force things too much, he plays witch such intesity that when it comes to the cool and collective shot to goal he suffers but that will come with age. LFC TIA YNWA

  10. I would like to see Alberto's confidence on trial for a full game.

  11. That's not the point. Henderson is not (IMO) one of the reasons LFC are in this position. Suarez and Sturridge are the main reason. What specific impact has Hendo had on the team this season (pertaining to his position)

  12. I agree with Pandle. We are wide open in midfield. Wide Open. We will get found out and over-run against the better teams.

  13. No one can deny his work rate, but his end product is questionable.He needs to be dropped on principal alone - if he's not scoring or assisting regularly, then its time to give someone else a shot - i.e Alberto.

    Maybe time on the bench will allow him to focus - maybe he'll lay on better passes, take better shots. But atm, it would be 100% justifiable to drop him - maybe not this week as that would be too many changes in a big game, but soon if he doesn't step up.

    He's not bad, but his contribution seems to be more defensive than offensive, which seems counter intuitive for an offensive midfielder.

  14. I definitely agree that we are open in midfield but it's a collective effort and the blame shouldn't be put on certain individuals but maybe Allen and Lucas supported by Henderson May give us a more solid look over the next few weeks. Although Gerrard is still quality he lacks the mobility he used to have therefore leaving more space.

  15. To be fair to him - he was better last season - he seems disinterested at times. Maybe he isnt happy at the hammers? Pogba seems to be on fire this season - buy minus champions league - i dont think he would come to us?

  16. I agree with a most of your points because Henderson is an energetic runner who runs a lot but contributes little as JK's stats above prove that at 5.7 goals assists he is likely to contribute less than 7 goals and assists over a 38 game season.

    This is clearly a poor return for a primarily attacking midfield player who has proved he is no slouch when taking part and winning most of Liverpool's skills challenges but cannot transfer any of that to the pitch where he constantly outruns everyone but heads for the corner flag where defenders know he will not beat them anyway.

    If he is not running into corner flags he is giving away possession in promising areas or blasting chances over goal. Many times you can see him visibly tense up when through on goal because he fears taking responsibility and panics when there is no one to pass the responsibility to.

    Henderson maybe young but when you play 109 elite games for Liverpool it means you are experienced enough because in more successful days gone by players would not get that may chances to play for the club without improving the team.

    John Aldridge played 83 league games while Dean Saunders played 42 league games for us but these games were enough to make them legends meanwhile Henderson has played 82 premier league games for us and a combined 163 career premier league games yet we are still scratching our heads as to what he offers apart from running a lot.

  17. While the proof is in the pudding, there's no question that his end product is severely lacking.

    Where I will argue though is I don't think his primary role is scoring goals, providing assists, etc.

    I think his primary role is to win back the ball and subsequently help LFC keep it.

    If he's not doing those things, there's no point to playing him.

  18. You've said it. We eventually need 3 new midfielders.

  19. I don't think we are at this position for the performance (or lack of that) of JH. I actually agree with ML H'son is a player you 'll always see in lot of actions, movements, activities but at the end of the his overall contribution is too insignificant. He doesn't hold the ball, he doesn't carry it, he isn't a great dribbler, neither a very good tackler, I have hardly seen him playing defense splitting throughs, neither his heading or position sense is good & he isn't a finisher.

    He is in between everything, but nothing substantial. He is a runner, only strength is probably his stamina & speed (typical of English players, 90% attributes are physical). May be someone like Grenier or Cepel 'll be much better (Not to mention Pogba or Drexler). However, we can't wipe out all English players from the team, may be he can stay as a squad player, but I don't see Henderson starting regularly for a Champion's League team.

  20. Lawrenson should have really slammed Henderson. The man is a total waste of space in midfield. He's been impersonating a footballer ever since he arrived at Anfield. What the hell can he do?

  21. Exactly. Take out Gerrard, Sturridge, Suarez and to a lesser extent Coutinho and there is precious little to get excited about. Certainly when you've seen players like Souness, Whelan, Case, Kenendy etc etc you don't excited about a nonentity like Henderson. Sturridge injured, Gerrard injured and now henderson fit...the injury news just keeps getting worse.

  22. You are absolutely right. Thank God I'm not the only one who has seen through a man who should be run in for impersonating a footballer.

  23. Henderson is a player that you remember him only when he doesn't play, because you are missing his power, energy, running and desire to push the team to attack. Lawrenson is a legend of our golden era and he has his opinion that we have to respect. But we have to respect as well a player that earned his place by hard working and he is one of the basic reasons that we are second in the league at the moment. Players like Henderson are not about the joy of watching attractive football, but for the dirty work that allows players like Coutinho to do their magic and make us happy! Don't underestimate that, is essential for the balance of our team.

  24. Right from word go Henderson was and still is a bench warmer at best.
    20 million for what? A marathon runner! This is football,and his position requires goals & assists,if he can't do that then take a seat on the nice warm bench.If LFC are to challenge the big boys,in the big competitions, then they better get good footballers,or be content with being a middle pack team.Henderson is never going to be anymore then a very very average footballer.If anyone believes different about him,then come back to earth from where ever you're.

  25. 4eva LFC, LFC 4eva1:00 am, December 14, 2013

    I do not rate him that much also, I just think that BR has given him more than enough opportunities to showcase his ability and while he has improved I don't believe it is enough.
    When you look at the other players like Tiago, Aspas, Alberto who really haven't been given the same opportunities, I can't help but feel there is favouritism within the ranks, people talk about how Lucas needs competition for his place but I believe so does Hendo, he should be played from the bench.
    I will say, that his work rate is very good, but it's like he plays the safe ball all the time, or is it that he just doesn't have the skills to be more?

  26. So why has he only created 9 chances in 15 matches? People keep talking about his attacking threat. Hits 1 iin 4 shots on target. 1 goal in 15 games.
    False 9 indeed.
    And Hendo created 26 chances in the same no of games btw

  27. I agree that Henderson, Allen and Lucas are average but that doesn't make Diame better than he is. He has qualities that make him like Vieira or Yaya but not as good. And then your post went all championship manager. Cabaye alone would be enough.

  28. M'vila is not a nobody he was very well talked up before his move and he went for about £15m last year so they are going to want that kind of money back after such a small amount of time. Especially as they don't need the money.

    I doubt Newcastle would let Cabeye go midseason especially as they have been doing well recently. £15m will definitely not be enough. Arsenal would have bought him if that would have been enough money.

    Again mate I think your estimation is way way off and probably (unfortunately) worse is it's just very unlikely

  29. Like I said it is still worrying. You could argue ot has something to o with WH generally being poor and fat Sam's archaic tactics but I think that is too simple. I think he would improve our side but not nearly as much as so many on this site seem to.

  30. Eric,

    We have a 25 man squad.

    Out of the 25 man squad, we have 4 world class players: Agger, Gerrard, Johnson and Suarez.

    And 7 class, quality players: Coutinho, Enrique, Mignolet, Lucas, Sakho, Skrtel , Sturridge and Toure.

    The rest of the players within the squad are either average or dead wood.

    We are 11 players short of a class, quality squad.

    And we are not in Europe, So we have been lucky with just injuries. Otherwise our squad would have been exposed sooner and there would have been alot more injuries.

    Where we are weak and lack class, quality competition for places is everywhere except Centre back position.

    Diame(26) offers more creativity, goals and physical presence and power through the centre of the park

    Allen(24), Lucas(26) and Henderson(23) cost the club 38M

    M'Vila(23), Cabaye(27) and Diame(26) would cost the club 32-34M

    When we played Arsenal who are top of their league, Arteta, Ramsey and Rosicky ran circles around Gerrard, Lucas and Henderson.

    Today watching the city game, Fernandinho and Yaya Toure kept Flamini, Ramsey and Wiltshire pretty quiet and limited. Yeah Yaya and Fernandinho cost city combined total of 57M

    But there two players are class and quality, whereas our three of Allen, Henderson and Lucas are box standard average and all do the same thing to a certain extent, just two are mobile and have bit of pace about them.

    We need alot of good class, quality players brought to club between next three transfer windows, we have not been in europe and have come unstuck against the likes of Hull and Southampton this season. And you think we do not need alot of players.

    I love my team to death but lets be honest, we are 11 class, quality players away from a good squad.

    And the 6 players i mentioned Rodgers should bring to club in January would change the team drastically, They would all be for the first team those players would bring more class, creativity, goals, mobility, pace, physical presence, power,quality competition for places, speed and strength to the squad. All the things we are currently lacking in squad.

  31. I did not say M'Vila(23) Is a nobody i mean't Rubin Kazan the club, no offence to them are nobodys compared to our club. And he would definately cost the club between 10-14M, no more than that. Rubin Kazan are not a huge club and M'Vila(23) is not shining in the champions league, maybe the Europa. Either way Rodgers could bring him to club for 10-14M, Rubin Kazan would not be able to hold us to ransom.

    And Greg
    Arsenal offered 10M for Cabaye and that turned his head. If Rodgers offered 14M they may reject it, but i am sure that if Rodgers then offered 16M the club get him and then they should considering we spent 15M on Allen and 18M on Henderson. It should be a no brainer, Cabaye(27) class, creativity, goals, how he gets stuck in without the ball and his qulaity would instantly make Allen (24) warm the bench permanently. Its that simple

  32. Diame(26) offers more creativity and goals to centre of park.

    The problem with our centre midfield is Captain Fantastic(33) is coming to the end of the road, he no longer has the legs, mobility or pace he was blessed with for 15 years. And Lucas(26) has never been mobile or had pace, yet the are alot of premiership's midfielders today that are younger, fluid, mobile, abit of pace, always on the move, press well, with good energy levels.

    And Allen(24) and Henderson(23) both are mobile and have a bit of pace about them, both pass well, both ares very cautious, both lack class, creavity and goals.

    So in essence we have three midfielders doing exactly the same thing, but not doing it well as we are still being exposed through centre of park away from home and conceding goals for fun.

    Whereas in a three man midfield,

    There should be a mobile enforcer who protects back 4 well and passes well, rarely loses ball but reads danger well and is always on the move. ( J Martinez, Gustavo, Fernandino, Gattuso,Mascherano and Essien type player

    There should be a midfield who dictates play from centre of park, but is mobile and gets stuck in and starts attacks but can get on the end of attacks. And regularly creates chances and scores goals from centre of park. Box to box midfielder ( Alacantra, Fabregas, Modric, Koke, Cabaye, Yaya Toure type player)

    There should be player that is the link between midfield and attack, the player who plays between the lines, this players main duties is to create and attack. And to score goals from an advanced position in midfield

    ( Barkley, Cazorla,Iniesta,Isco, Oscar, Ozil, Mata, Munian type player)

    Allen, Henderson and Lucas all fit into the first category to a certain extent.

    S Gerrard(33) has the class, quality still but due to his age and the solid tough service he has given the club over the years(15 years). He no longer has the legs, mobility or pace to do the box to box or the AM role to what he used to 3-5 years ago.

  33. I wish I had your optimism mate. I agree that we should go for those players just think it would be more difficult and costly than you do. Heres goping but I won't hold my breath.

  34. Greg, Newcastle are not in Europe.Newcastle are not better than us, Newcastle are not a bigger club than us. And those 6 players would cost the 60-75M in January. Those 6 players would Guarantee the club a top 4 position and an outside chance of winning the league. Our club has not won the division in over 23 years.

    This season the league is the most open it has been for last 5 years, if the owners were to sanction the 60-75M.

    Y M'Vila(23), Y Cabaye(27), M Diame(26), M Salah(21), D Capel(25) and L Remy(26) could bring a trophy to Anfield that has never been won, The premiership league. so for 60-75M, our club could actually win a league we have not won in 23 years.

    And yeah i am being optimistic, but i am honest those 6 players would bring a whole new dimension to squad.

    Cabaye(27) ,M'Vila(23) and Diame(26) would bring class, creativity, dominate tempo of games,goals,mobility, physical presence, pace, power, quality, strength and tough tackling in the centre of park.

    Capel(25), Remy(26) and Salah(21) would bring class, creativity, goals,pace, quality, skill, speed and width to squad.

  35. I am not saying Cabeye wouldn't like to join us I am just saying that Newcastle would want as much as they could get for him and midseason transfer window is quite an unlikely time to sell your best player.. Remember the money we payed for Henderson and Allen, if a team wants to hold on to a player you have to pay up, fifteen million would not be enough and that is what it would cost to get M'villa, so if those three players cost 33 then that means you think we could get Cabeye for 15. Its just not so mate. I agree with you that those players would improve us I just think it would be more costly and near impossible to get all of them in Jan. Maybe in the summer but I doubt we will buy more than one CM. The 65-75 is much more realistic though for all those players.

  36. Greg,

    I think Rodgers could get M'Vila(23) Of Rubin Kazan for 10-14M, So say 12m i think.

    Rodgers can get Cabaye(27) Of Newastle for 14-18M, i think Rodgers could get Cabaye for 17M.

    And i think Rodgers could get Diame(26) for 4M.

    Newcastle will need to invest in new players, so if club offer 14M first they may reject it. But if Rodgers offers 16 or 17M they will accept it and he would be our player.

    Those 3 players would cost the club no more than 35M. And that is 2m more than what Chelsea spent on Hazard, 5M more than what Man City spent on Fernandinho(28) and 8M more than what Man United Spent on Fellaini(26).

    Three players for the price of one. Those three players would completely transform or centre midfield, we would have a mix, small nibby mobile players and powerful strong mobile players also