1 May 2015

Transfer Truth: £20m star confirms 'opportunity to leave' Liverpool in swap-deal for ex-Tottenham star Clint Dempsey in 2012

Over the last two seasons, Jordan Henderson has emerged as one of the Liverpool most improved players, and after signing a new long-term contract last month, the Reds' vice-captain will be plying his trade at Anfield for years to come. Things could've turned out very differently, though, and Hendo has reiterated once again that he had the chance the quit Anfield after only a year at the club.

In the summer of 2012, Rodgers tried to ditch Henderson, and offered him to Fulham as part of a deal for Clint Dempsey. In November of that year, Hendo confirmed this, when he told The Telegraph:

“When the manager [Rodgers] told me I could go to Fulham it was a bit of a shock at first. What he said came as a sort of bolt from the blue. I think the Dempsey situation had stalled, but it wasn’t really of interest to me".

After signing his new contract, Henderson told the official Liverpool FC website:

"A few years ago I had an opportunity to leave, but I always knew how big this club is and I wanted to stay here for as long as possible - and nothing has changed since then".

Clearly, it's a good thing that Liverpool retained Henderson, but if he'd ended up leaving, I genuinely doubt he'd have been missed that much. That may sound like heresy, but Liverpool would've inevitably signed another central midfielder, and this (hypothetical) replacement could've been the midfield equivalent of Luis Suarez.

Henderson's 'transformation' is impressive, and he's certainly made his mark at Anfield over the last 18 months. However, he massively underwhelmed in his first season at the club, so any improvement will look significant in comparison.

Right now, Hendo is achieving the basic level of performance that should be expected of a highly-paid, first-choice midfielder at a top-class club; he is not - as yet - exceeding those expected levels, and a prime example of this is his impact at the business end of the season:

* Henderson has scored only one goal in the last seven games, during which time, Liverpool have lost four games overall.

* Like Sterling, Hendo has failed to step-up when it really matters, and in Gerrard's absence, he hasn't been able to inspire the team to much-needed victories.

* Exactly the same thing happened last season: Henderson scored only one goal in Liverpool's final 8 games.

* Prior to that, he contributed only 3 goals in 24 games.

For Henderson to really exceed expectations, he needs to make more of an impact when it matters, and - like Gerrard in the past - he needs to lead by example, especially in the big games.

The interesting thing is that Liverpool challenged for the title last season in spite of Henderson's miserable goal record, yet this year, with his increased goals/assists output, the Reds are struggling to maintain fifth place in the league.

As for Dempsey/Henderson swap deal: after finishing 8th in 2011-12 (and scoring only 47 league goals all season), the Reds needed more goals up-front, and Dempsey grabbed 34 goals/assists that year, so the deal seemed to make sense.

On reflection, though, keeping Henderson was the right decision, and hopefully he'll move up a level next season.

Author: Jaimie K


  1. Stan Dinaround8:00 pm, May 01, 2015

    When Gerrard plays, LFC end up struggling and Hendo's game is stifled...When Gerrard doesn't play, Hendo is differnet player....and LFC perform significantly better.... To say he's only doing what he's paid to do is doing him a huge disservice, and I think you know it... He has been very important for the club over the last 2 seasons, and I don't think anyone could suggest he'd not be missed.

  2. we need Kondogbia then hendo will improve. we need a natural strong defensive mid. then our centre mids will improve. so wish we hadnt sold shelvey. a top player who needed to be loved and coached to become top.

  3. The Madman Rodgers is talking about keeping Balotteli for another year I believe Klopp has secretly agreed a deal with F S G

  4. We must try and do a player exchange with a Portugrse club crazy enough to want Markovic - Where does B R get these clowns ??

  5. Who cares about footie tomorrow ???????????????????/ Mayweather v Pachiauo - CLASS AT LAST

  6. its not Balotteli its rodgers that should be gone

  7. I can understand why BR fancies Hendo as captain. He's the poster boy for hard work, endeavour and development. Very much the model our club like. I still maintain if he hadn't received that suspension at the end of last season, we'd have won the league.
    Having said that, I'm not sure if he's a big enough character to drive us to success. Time will tell I suppose but I can't help but think he'll be something of a caretaker captain for a season or two.

  8. I agree I don't think Hendo has the extra class to inspire the team the way we need our captain to. He has been anonymous for a few games now- you can't use being out of position as an excuse - Gerrard did it from a number of positions other than central midfield

    Love his enthusiasm and workrate- which incidentally isn't the highest in the team- that honour goes to Lallana. Mighty glad we didn't get Dempsey though- yet another one season wonder

  9. Classic dig from Jaimie. As if Henderson did not step up during Gerrard's absence? As you mention, he has excelled without Gerrard, as have a few others like Lucas.

    Trust a Rodgers signing to replace Henderson. Please...Allen was supposed to do that.

  10. Henderson and Gerrard are two very different players, and are (and were) effective respectively, due to different reasons. You can't argue against Henderson's winning record as captain, as well as the shockingly points per game stat with Gerrard in the team.

    Henderson is the engine in the team and is an ever present every season. He can be relied upon. He pops up with the odd goal and this season has proven he can create goals as well. His long passing is also quite effective and at least he has made an attempt to step up to tasks such as penalty taking and free kicks when others in the squad don't have the nerves. Sterling too scared to take a penalty, Sturridge is shocking at penalties despite being a striker. Balotelli not on the pitch enough to take them or have an effect.

    Gerrard has always been most effective going forward with little defensive responsibility. He has the technique with penalties, free kicks, and long shots that got the club out of trouble time and time again. But, he has been a defensive liability for several years now and his influence has dramatically declined since his legs have gone. What if Gerrard couldn't take penalties, and honestly when is the last time he even scored a long shot? If he didn't have these traits he would have been out of the time a long time ago.

  11. That's a bit harsh Pete S.G was very effective last season yes hes finished i know.
    But i do not buy into the theory of some that he should have gone years ago.
    Anyway this seasons over to me what happens is inconsequential they may as well play the under 21s' or play a few kids at least.

  12. Both of them.

  13. I think your appraisal of Gerrard and Mike's appraisal of Hendo are spot on.

  14. Peter Panofield9:14 am, May 02, 2015

    Nuri Sahin?

  15. Peter Panofield9:21 am, May 02, 2015

    If we had 3 hendersons in our first 11 we would definately be a better team in my opinion. How many times has henderson been the worse player in our team? He would make Man citys first team in my opinion easy. It is very hard to inspire when everyone is playing poor. Gerrard is one of those freak fantastic footballers when at his best but even he couldnt carry us under hodgson

  16. wasnt Henderson suspended fpr 3 of liverpools last 8 games

  17. wasnt Henderson suspended for 3 of liverpools last 8 games

  18. Henderson is massively overrated. He'll sign a new deal because he knows it's the best offer he'll get. The LFC of ten years ago wouldn't have considered a player of Henderson's "talent" to even warm the bench. He's nowhere near being in the same league as Hamman/Alonso/Mascherano or even Danny Murphy and Jamie Redknapp.

  19. Rubbish IMO. Shelves is not a top player. Too rash, poor positionally and not enough discipline to play CM for a top side or enough creativity and subtlety to play as an AM.
    If he was so good, why has no one other than Swansea ever shown an interest in him?

  20. henderson is one of the most effective midfielders around for the right system, based on the system used last season and used once this season against Tottenham before sturridge got injured (the high tempo counter attacking diamond formation), he's one of the best supporting ball winning midfielders around, pressing for the ball and winning it high up the pitch leaving the oppsition open, and able to release the ball quickly, in terms of constantly forcing counter attacking opotunities rather than waiting for the few a team would usually get, there aren't many better players, it would be interesting if Rodgers uses that system next season if he has the personnel in attack to do that