Liverpool would not function properly “without a cog like Jordan Henderson”, says club legend and former captain Steven Gerrard.
A Reds icon passed the armband to a fellow midfielder when swapping life on Merseyside for that in California back in the summer of 2015, as he headed to MLS with the LA Galaxy.
Gerrard claims to have never had any doubts that he was leaving Liverpool in safe hands and Henderson has more than justified the faith shown in him, with the England international now a Champions League winner, Premier League title hopeful and leading contender for the 2020 PFA Player of the Year award.
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Now manager at Rangers, Gerrard told the Daily Mail of a man he once played alongside and is now admiring from afar: “I appreciated Jordan’s power and fitness by training with him.
“Some players play for themselves, Jordan does the dirty running, grappling for second balls, 12 or 13km Saturday and Wednesday, again and again.
“Teams can’t function at Liverpool’s level without a cog like Jordan Henderson. He’s obviously going to be a Premier League winner. I look at him and think: good for you.
“He has that confidence now. He has lifted the European Cup above his head.
“I don’t deserve one iota of credit, he has done it all himself, but I remember a chat with Jordan in LA a while ago and he wasn’t sure whether he was coming or going at the club.
“I remember saying to him don’t give up on Liverpool, you’ll be fine. I knew what he had inside and that he would get there. You know with certain people.”
While Henderson has contributed significantly to success on the field over the course of the last 12 months, Jurgen Klopp continues to pull the strings off it.
The German tactician is another presence at Anfield that Gerrard has the utmost respect for, with Liverpool having found the perfect coach to bring the good times back.
Gerrard added on Klopp: “He has this stature. When he walks in a room, it's ‘Whoa’.
“If he was your manager you'd think ‘I am running here’. This Liverpool team are monsters and it's come from him the moment he arrived.
“For the players to have that level of respect for their manager in a modern dressing room is special. You can see everyone is tuned in, physically and mentally.
“To get that from your players is a tough nut to crack. And I sense Liverpool is growing again around the world.”
Liverpool, who will be looking to pull 22 points clear again at the top of the Premier League, will be back in action on Monday when they take in a home date with West Ham.