With the business end of the season underway and the summer transfer window fast approaching, there’s a sense that Jordan Henderson is playing for his place at Liverpool.
Signed in 2011 from Sunderland and made captain four years later, the 27-year-old was once seen as Steven Gerrard’s successor but hasn’t lived up to the hype.
He’s not even a guaranteed starter under Jurgen Klopp nowadays, with the likes of James Milner and Emre Can often preferred in the midfield engine room.
Naby Keita’s imminent arrival will make things even harder for Henderson, whose role as skipper has had to be defended and reassured by Klopp.
“Hendo is doing an incredible job here,” said the German in midweek. “If you ask me ‘am I thinking about giving the armband to someone else?’ then no.
“Captaincy feels like a joy in the first moment and then from that moment on it’s only work.
“I don’t think if I asked in the dressing room ‘who wants to be captain next year?’ that 28 arms would go up.
“What we need at Liverpool are these kind of players who are leaders. Hendo and Virgil [van Dijk] are leaders. I am not half as much interested in the captaincy role than you all are.”
Henderson certainly doesn’t lack the passion required to be captain, but there are some Liverpool fans who question whether he inspires through his performances like Gerrard used to.
And against Crystal Palace on Saturday he was slammed by Kopites for the unforgivable role he played in Wilfried Zaha winning a penalty.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and goalkeeper Loris Karius were held to blame, but Henderson didn’t help matters by not challenging Christian Benteke with a header in the build-up.
In the video below, from Wayne Hennessey’s goal kick, Henderson doesn’t even attempt to head the ball and lets Benteke flick it on with ease.
HENDERSON BOTTLES BENTEKE CHALLENGE
Just watch Henderson ffs. Donkey. pic.twitter.com/SLXK943bG5
— SNM (@JackCook95) March 31, 2018
Not what you expect from a captain. Naturally, Liverpool fans were furious with Henderson and made their feelings known with a series of angry tweets.
Henderson made no attempt to head that ball and Benteke headed Zaha through kmt
— FLORIDA MAN (@rahyonce) March 31, 2018
That came from Henderson being a shithouse against Benteke in the middle, get up for the header you absolute fanny!!
— Hayley (@hayleyj_04) March 31, 2018
Captain Marvel Henderson didn't even challenge Benteke and Trent same mistake 5 times in a game and 15 minutes sorry I know he's a young lad but it's not good enough #LFC
— Ty Kropp (@tizlad) March 31, 2018
Sorry but Henderson is garbage, him and TAA at fault for the goal, Hendo did not even jump with Benteke.
— The Red man YNWA (@YNWAExile) March 31, 2018