Liverpool have “a far better chance” of winning trophies with club captain Jordan Henderson in the side, says Graeme Souness.
The Reds saw their skipper ruled out with a foot problem in February, forcing him to sit out the remainder of the 2016-17 campaign.
They were able to secure a top-four finish in his absence, but the club’s wait for silverware goes on.
Souness believes Henderson will have a key role to play in that quest once back to full fitness, with the England international a vital cog whose value to the cause can often go unnoticed.
He told Liverpool’s official website: “In the playing sense they’ve missed him greatly.
“You’re not always bossing the game - doesn’t matter what team you are, you’re not always in charge of the game - and he’s really good at making [opponents] go into areas and make passes they don’t want to.
“As well as that, I think he’s improved with his own technique - he can open the play up both short and long now, and he’s a major influence.
“Arguably, he might have been the first on the teamsheet when he was firing on all cylinders.”
Former Reds skipper Souness added: “Being the captain of a club like Liverpool is an enormous responsibility; you’re forever being compared to people who have gone before you.
“He looks to be a really steady character, which will stand him in good stead when things don’t go well.
“We just have to start winning trophies now and, with him back, it gives us a far better chance.”
Henderson was restricted to just 24 Premier League appearances in 2016-17, having only made 17 the season before.
He is, however, a key part of Jurgen Klopp’s plans and is tied to a contract which is due to run until 2020.