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'Henderson assured of place among all-time greats' - Liverpool skipper overcame 'impossible task', says Aldridge

7:41 AM EST 1/2/20
Jordan Henderson Liverpool 2019-20
The former Reds striker has hailed the efforts of an Anfield stalwart who has overcome plenty of adversity to follow in illustrious footsteps

Jordan Henderson faced an “almost impossible task” when succeeding Steven Gerrard as Liverpool captain, says John Aldridge, but the Reds skipper is now “assured of a place among the club’s all-time greats”.

Back in the summer of 2015, as an Anfield legend headed for the exits, the armband was passed in the direction of a midfielder who had spent four years on Merseyside.

Questions were still being asked of Henderson’s ability to become a leader at that stage, with the England international having had to work hard to silence critics throughout his time with Liverpool.

He is now taking in a ninth season with the club, with 350 appearances made, and has become a Champions League and Club World Cup winner.

It could be that he gets his hands on the Premier League title at the end of the season, with Aldridge considering the 29-year-old to be a modern-day icon after following in illustrious footsteps.

The former Reds striker told the Irish Independent: “Jordan Henderson was presented with an almost impossible task when he succeeded Steven Gerrard as Liverpool captain in the summer of 2015 and it is to his enduring credit that he is now assured of a place among the club's all-time greats.

“I remember the cynicism when Henderson took over from the legendary Stevie G and I was among those who doubted whether he was up to the task of leading one of the great clubs in world football on and off the field.

“Henderson always gave everything to the Liverpool cause, but he was lacking quality in certain areas of his game in his formative days at the club and the idea that he could successfully succeed an Anfield icon who did so much for the club was too much for some to comprehend.

“Jurgen Klopp didn't always pick Henderson when he came in as manager and I remember the calls for Virgil van Dijk to be named as Liverpool captain when he arrived at the club in January 2018 and had such a big impact on the team.

“Yet Henderson has grown into the role and – like so many members of a Liverpool team that has reached 2020 on course to end the club's 30-year wait for a domestic league title – his improvement under Klopp has been so impressive.

“If he can get his hands on the Premier League trophy at Anfield in May, his legacy as one of the great Liverpool captains of all-time will be secured.”

Liverpool will be looking to restore a 13-point lead at the top of the table on Thursday, while preserving their unbeaten record, when they take in a home date with 2019-20 surprise package Sheffield United.