9 Jun 2015

'Influential': Henderson hails €20m playmaker who called Liverpool a 'big club'. Transfer fail for LFC?

Like several other obscenely well-paid Liverpool players, Reds midfielder Jordan Henderson went missing during the final six weeks of the season; when the going got tough, LFC's captain-elect failed to make the difference, and contributed a measly one assist and ZERO goals in the final seven games of the year. Overall, though, Hendo grabbed 22 goals/assists for the season, which is creditable, and he's vowed to improve his game by learning from one Europe's top midfielders.

Speaking to The Guardian over the weekend, Hendo hailed Barcelona star Ivan Rakitic, and revealed that he's 'blown away' by the Croatian's performances in midfield. He enthused:

“Rakitic is one of the players I watch. He doesn’t get the praise given to Neymar, Messi or Suárez, but he’s so influential and does all the dirty work. He has qualities I can learn off"

Prior to his move to Barcelona, Liverpool were heavily linked with a move for Rakitic, and during the 2013-14 season, the Croatian hinted that he'd consider a move to Anfield. He told 24 Sata:

"I'm flattered to be linked with a big club like Liverpool, and it fills me with pride. Something is developing, but at the moment there is nothing concrete."

Predictably, Liverpool lost out to Barcelona, but there was probably never any real chance of the Reds sealing a deal.

In his first season at the Nou Camp, Rakitic won the Champions League, and the La Liga title (as well as the Spanish Cup), so he obviously made the right decision (!)

Rakitic - who cost Barcelona €20m (whilst Liverpool paid £26m for Lallana!) - is a good role model for any midfielder, but Henderson has a long way to go before he's in a similar class.

Henderson's improvement over the last two seasons is impressive, but at the end of the day, he is merely (IMO) achieving the basic level of performance that should be expected of a highly-paid, first-choice midfielder at a top-class club.

Hendo is not - as yet - exceeding those expected levels, and a prime example of this is his impact at the business end of the recently finished season:

* Scored only one goal Liverpool's final 12 games of the season.

* Like Sterling, Lallana et al, he failed to step-up when it really mattered.

* Exactly the same thing happened during the 2013-14 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 in 2013-14 in spite of Henderson's miserable goal record, yet this year, with his increased goals/assists output, the Reds limped to 6th place in the league.

With James Friggin' Milner now in the squad, Henderson will be under pressure to consistently maintain his form, but it's sobering to realise that Hendo's goals/assist record is - overall - only slightly better than Milner's:

* Henderson (Sunderland and Liverpool): 25 goals in 265 games (One goal every 10.6 games)

* Milner: (Man City and Newcastle): 30 goals in 337 games (One goal every 11.2 games)

* Combined: 55 goals in 602 games (One goal every 11 games)

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Liverpool's (probable) first-choice midfield partnership for next season...

Author: Jaimie K


  1. Hard to argue with any of this post. Hendo just doesn't have the 'special' quality that our Captain should posess.... And neither does JFM..

  2. Ian Rush P660 G3464:59 am, June 09, 2015

    I'm not sure Henderson went missing. I remember Sterling alone missing 2 or 3 sitters beautifully made by Henderson in the last games. Rakitic has Messi, Suarez and Neymar to feed and he only had 5 league goals and 7 assists which is 12 goals/assists compared to Henderson's 22 goals/assists.

  3. ut when the big game came up, Raketic delivered the goods. What did Hendo do in ANY of our big games?

  4. Ian Rush P660 G3465:04 am, June 09, 2015

    Henderson isn't playing for Barcelona. Suarez was said to have disappeared for Liverpool in big games too and now obviously playing for the best team on the planet it's easier in the big games.

  5. No, he's playing the likes of Burnley. And losing.
    Not scoring in enough of the big games WAS Suarez' weakness.
    Are you saying Hendo would have taken the midfield starting postion off Xavi or Iniesta? Get real. His passing isn't up to Barca standards. Just his running..

  6. Certainly, Hendo has upped his game,
    but it needs to be upped to World class, to compete with the best,
    and we expect or aspire to be the best, he is a fine player, but is not at the upper level (yet)

  7. Ian Rush P660 G3465:12 am, June 09, 2015

    You get real. I'm just stating statistics. Rakitic only had 12 goals/assists playing with Messi, Suarez and Neymar. If Rakitic had of played in our team he obviously would've gotten less.

  8. Boltonbackup GK to. Be LFC backup GK and he is of course 'outstanding'. We truly are aiming our sights lower and lower. Meanwhile arsenal elbowing in for Jackson Martinez and God only knows what's next . Maybe they will sign Lacazette as we finish 11th....
    Boys, time to go home and drink heavily. I should have never erased so many games we recorded for the 2014 season.......Good memories not that past seems an eternity ago.......SIGH"..........

  9. Have it your own way. You find me someone else who rates Hendo above Rakitic due to that single stat.
    Did he take the majority of dead ball kicks, even penalties, and play the same number of games?

  10. What did our strikers do then? There is no point in blaming just one of the lot, the entire team didn't show up.

  11. You call Milner a striker? Yikes! Non scoring midfield guy a promising striker?

  12. Ian Rush P660 G3465:18 am, June 09, 2015

    It's not a single stat. Henderson scored more and assisted more in a weaker team. Henderson's assists statistics should be higher if not for Sterling missing sitters plump in front of goal.

  13. And his total horseshit transfer record...........

  14. Actually, the stats are wrong, Hendo's stats are for all competitions, Rakitic league only. in all competitions, he has 8 goals and 10 assists.
    Hendo also played over 1400 more minutes, so goals/assists per minute played for him is actually lower.
    PS its hard to score when your front three score 120+ goals between them

  15. For a midfielder to shine offensively he needs movement and options ahead of him.we know this wasn't there last season.

    As a percentage how many of the teams goals was henderson involved in last year? Must have been over 20%?

    Henderson and Rakitic are different types of players. You need that blend in a team. Those two plus a beast of a defensive midfielder such as kondogbia would work well together.

    Be interesting to see if we at last sign such an athletic defensive midfielder with a physical presence.

    On another note, If we are genuinely after Kovacic where does that leave Can?

  16. Ian Rush P660 G3465:34 am, June 09, 2015

    Henderson still has better stats.

    PS, that's ridiculous. It's much easier scoring goals when you're dominating them and winning.

  17. Half our squad can't kick the ball into the ocean and while Milner will add some steel we desperately need finishers. Start with two big boy strikers before they sign elsewhere. What on earth are we waiting for. Another outstanding player perhaps from MK Dons?

  18. If only we had scouts, let alone going abroad to find talent.

  19. I never remember Suarez not showing up for a game. He was relentless AND could finish and create. Three traits sorely lacking at the moment despite 120m spend.....and now we have Ings and are chasing an 'outstanding' backup goalie from the next level down! We. Are stooping further down the mediocrity slide......
    Why can't we sign real quality players befitting a famous franchise with worldwide fan base???????

  20. Finally someone agrees

  21. Sorry, you need to see the stats properly. comparing two players when one takes penalties, and has 1400+ more minutes is not equitable. And scoring against top CL opposition is much harder than against 1st round opponents.
    The point about the 120 goals is that with so many other players scoring and the 3 pronged attack relegating the midfielders to more support and defensive tasks; the AM position was shared between them- scoring is actually less likely, which is why Xavi and Iniesta never had high scoring stats

  22. I've seen from somewhere Burnley wants 10m for Ings. These 3 signings are up there with konchesky, jova and joe cole

  23. Mike I agree with you totally. We should have signed Rakitic and Sanchez instead of lowball them and than spending big on a herd of far lesser players.

  24. Yes, and in the 1 game he scored against Real Madrid, he also managed to assist and ultimately win to send Juve into the final.

    Not to mention in most of the bigger games his team held a much lower % possession rate.

    Premier league proven, tons of experience, great passing, quick, strong and just a natural finisher.

    Sorry to say, but since Suarez left, this is one of the closest examples to an actual replacement for Luis.

    And considering where we stand right now, we have no right to simply pick a player, call, and put pen to paper.

  25. To be fair I don't think we lowballed either. Sanchez confirmed our salary was higher. We were never in the running for Rakitic once Barca were involved. But in general, I agree

  26. Trust me, Jaimie, we are not ready!

    I just read couple of days ago that LFC is interested in a player swop with Arsenal with big-headed-but-healthy Raheem Sterling going London and Kieran 'the Sicknote' Gibbs and Theo 'the Perpetual Sicknote' Walcott coming our way. LFC will make it happen! Now there's Micah Richards on the free, better than Kolo Toure? If we need a right winger after Raheem Sterling, there's a player we can take a good look at in Shaun Wright-Phillips, an experienced veteran equipped with all necessary experiences in participating and winning major trophies. Then, in case we are capable of breaking the bank, a real big one in this case, we can test the virulent water with our deadly city rival, Everton, for Ross Barkley, the most fearsome young player in EPL a season ago. Talking about our deadly city rival, Gareth Barry and Phil Jagielka are some interesting senior dressing room leaders we can look at, whom we are desperately lacking in after SG's departure.

    Now, how can we forget about Liver-hampton, our contracted feeder club since last summer?! Jose Fonte is supposedly a good addition but I don't know if his nationality suggest otherwise? There and then how can we left out the highly-coveted Nathaniel Clyne who even Man Utd is drooling at? Supposed we are incapable of matching the English valuation for the player, don't fret. we already have an alternative in the form of the poor man's Clyne, Burnley's Kieran Trippier! I think we can also consider a double swoop for Jay Rodriguez and Ryan Bertrand before we end with Liver-hampton. Oh, before I forget after mentioning Man Utd, can we do the daredevil by making an audacious bid for Luke Shaw? Before I end of today, Worrying signs for Adam Bogdan...reason being after googling, I found out that he doesn't have an English nationality. But no worries after all, we can take a close hard look at Ben Foster, a supposedly top-10 keeper in EPL in 2015.

    Now, we are ready!

  27. Haha, ironically Dele Alli went to Spurs, so maybe, perhaps Portsmouth?

  28. How does that help Liverpool?

    Liverpool more often than not have a higher possession rate.

    And as for being PL proven, that was a few years ago and since then he'll have undoubtedly lost pace.

    No need to spend 50m, and I didn't realise that I was suggesting that - because I certainly never wrote it.

    But I just think that there are better options out there than a 31 year old with a track record of bad injuries.

    And if there aren't, then Liverpool need to seriously consider why.

  29. The big difference for Rakitic was that he went from being the main man at Seville where he took all free kicks and penalties and played in the central creative role to a back seat role at Barca where he played on the right of midfield and covered Alves in defence when he roamed forward. So that cost him about 10 goals and assists from the previous year. That said, the role he's now playing is exactly what Hendo needs to copy. Get 3 guys like Sturridge, Coutinho and Kovacic and just do the dirty work out the back and keep play ticking over with simple passes to those guys. It is better for the team, and that is what Hendo, Milner and Can need to focus on. Just like Rakitic, Busquets and Iniesta do

  30. We are showing so much ambition! LFC will take over the footballing world once again, next season :-o

  31. Good one mate :-)

    If Burnley want £10m for Ings then they should keep him. Shopping at teams which finish below us yet again shows the mediocrity this club is saddled with.

    The rumours of another Burnley player is hotting up now, Kieran Trippier. May the footballing gods watch over us next season...

  32. Our midfield is weak, no leadership in our team, inept defence, lack of goals up top.

    Ings and Milner will not fix the disaster of last season.

    This is Liverpool Football Club FFS yet we are showing that the ambition of a newly promoted team.

  33. It has been a long time since I have agreed with you. Well said mate!

  34. I can't see BR surviving and worry even more for the club t if he does survive now

  35. For me it comes down again to the question "Would Henderson get into any of the top four teams in the Prem or any across Europe?" A resounding no in pretty much all cases gives you a clue to a) where are level is at the moment b) what level the sort of player has now become acceptable at Anfield. Hard to dislike the guy but his output again is not up to top club standard. Captain? what a joke but then again what else have we got? Zero big names or leaders. Sad times! :)

  36. I those newly promoted teams will no doubt beat us

  37. So far the business we've done have been pretty underwhelming. I don't really mind the Milner signing but what he is earning is making me feel sick, I mean 150K per week...really? So what happens if we actually pull off a big name buy? What will we offer? 250k?

    Liverpool have just inflated their own wages with giving Milner such an absurd contract. What will Coutinho ask for next? He's going to look at Milner I think why is this average player earning more than me. Absurd!!!

    Singing Bogdan just shows that BR does not what he is doing. How can Liverpool sign a Championship back up goalkeeper to back up our number one in the PL? What is this?

    Mignolet needs to be replaced, not challenged. He is average and nothing else.

    This transfer window has been a shambles so far...have we not learned anything from the Joe Cole fiasco?

    150K per week for James Milner!!! Really FSG?

    And no Ings, who no doubt BR will call him "fantastic young player with great character and fighting spirit".

    Milner better get off to a flyer because if not he will not go anywhere with that much money he is earning.

    Rant over.

  38. We're going for all the average players and then we expect the team to challenge.

    Average players+average manager= Average season

    £10M for Ings? Ridiculous.

  39. Beating us is no longer the case now... I worry more about them finishing above us

  40. Hendo is a decent player; no more. Rakitic is infinitely better, and Gerrard was special. A Liverpool captain should be nigh-on special.

  41. Bogdan I know nothing about and is not confirmed so...

  42. I'm happy, I'm happy, I would like to share that happiness with you, for I'm happy, oh I'm so happy............

  43. I seem to remember Hendo being checked out by Barca in the season just gone... So one would assume that he has something about him that others clearly love to ignore....I'm starting to dispise our fans.... Such a bunch of whingers.

  44. Where did you read that? It was certainly not widely reported. Strange they should do that when they had a transfer embargo.

    Hendo is a very good player. He has a number of limitations however which imo will stop him reaching the top level.

    People who have seen my posts will know I am not seen as a whinger; in fact I have been challenged quite often as to my tendency not to see the negatives in things, including players, club and owners.

    But I would swap Hendo for Rakitic in a heartbeat. I take it you disagree?

  45. I think that's my first ever upvote from you . Blimey :-)

  46. Because we haven't been in the CL more than a couple of times in the last 7 or 8 years.

    Because your typical 20 -odd year old has NEVER seen us win the PL

    Because at LEAST 4 other teams have WAY more money to spend than us on top players rather than upgrading squads

    Because few have ever heard of our manager

    I could go on, but you get the point. these are young players who don't know or care about our glorious past. The CL was 10 years ago, most of them were in school.....

  47. I was in school... But fair point.

  48. In a dream world, BR does ok, but not well enough. Klopp takes over. Ancelotti becomes DOF.

    Sami and Pako are Coach and Assistant Manager

    LFC goes into a Brave New World with a revamped stadium a top 4 place and top players WANT to come here

    In an ideal world....

  49. He did score against Man City.

  50. Eight games against the top 4. Is that enough?

  51. I agree, Henderson had his first really poor period for us since BR took over, I thought, in the last couple of months of the season.

    Presumably the pressure of the captaincy, plus the tensions in the squad around Sterling and the other various contract situations -- along with the uncertainty about the manager's status -- when lots of the players want to be loyal to a man who was their leader in the last, incredible campaign -- well... my feeling was that it got to him a bit.

    He'll learn.

  52. I disagree, I think he'd play a role at virtually any club. He's an excellent midfielder for the modern game.

  53. Ridiculous.

  54. Can't we have them both? That'd be a workaholic midfield!

  55. Was trying to be funny don't why you take it serious

  56. The entire squad collapsed after the utd game,hendo is a favourite but he was awful second half of the season,

  57. Rodgers is special

  58. I just had an unexpectedly terrific evening, so this might come to pass. :-) Imagine...

  59. You mean that in the way my seventh grade teacher meant it, don't you

  60. I get exactly what you are saying which is exactly why LFC have to stop ratcheting down their expectations for players and management performance. We are where we are because we have been living in the past. The team has a worldwide following and yet we chase Bolton's backup Goalie? W T F??????
    The academy and scouting system needs to be first rate. while that gets rebuilt, if need be, we need to have a game plan for each transfer window. 5 quality adds not ten mediocre passengers and 'outstanding" 20 yr olds who run fast but cant shoot, pass or make a play....

  61. EXACTLY! If you don't show for the summit and fall a bit short, you have still made huge progress. Aim low, you get Sunderland, Burley, Bolton Newcastle etc....LFC and FSG need to aim higher than where they seem to be..............