Liverpool suffered a humiliating defeat at the Vitality Stadium yesterday in their Premier League clash with Bournemouth and Jurgen Klopp will surely be left frustrated following another unorganised and uninspiring performance from his side.
The Reds went into the game off the back of a monumental 7-0 victory at Anfield last weekend against bitter rivals Manchester United and supporters were hoping that the tenacious display would spark a much-needed turnaround in their inconsistent campaign, alas it was not meant to be.
Klopp’s formerly high-performing and unstoppable side found themselves completely outplayed by their opponents on their visit to the south coast and it was blatantly obvious that the midfield selection were completely out of their depth from the very start.
Liverpool’s young breakthrough stars Harvey Elliott and Stefan Bajcetic were deployed alongside Brazilian stalwart Fabinho in the starting set-up in the centre of the pitch, however, the German coach quickly realised he had made a huge mistake.
Both youthful prospects struggled to fend off the pressure applied by the Cherries which led to Elliott being hooked at half-time after being dribbled past four times and losing 100% of his duels over the first 45 minutes.
It was crystal clear that Liverpool sorely missed the dominant and controlled presence of Jordan Henderson in the heart of the team with a clear lack of leadership and a poor approach to the recovery needed following the first-half winner from Philip Billing.
Should Klopp unleash Jordan Henderson?
Indeed, the Liverpool captain has had his own struggles in some of his individual performances this season alongside many other key players who have failed to step up when it matters most this season.
However, there is no denying that Henderson offers sound leadership and eliminates the kind of uncharacteristic chaos that was caused for large periods of the game yesterday.
Over 23 league appearances this season, the 32-year-old has registered one assist, created three big chances and successfully completed 57% of his dribbles, as well as averaging 50.4 touches, 36.9 accurate passes and winning 1.6 duels per game.
Not only that, Henderson ranks in the top 10% of his positional peers across the top five European leagues for progressive passes whilst tallying up a 90% short pass completion rate, delivering 2.7 shot-creating actions per game and completing 102 ball recoveries in the Premier League so far, proving that he is a hard-working and consistent presence.
The Sunderland-born midfielder has no shortage of admirers praising him for his consistency and impact on the success Liverpool has seen since the arrival of Klopp, with journalist Henry Winter paying tribute to the player’s strong leadership skills on and off the pitch:
“He’s been a beacon of hope in dark times for the country, a nation craving real leadership.
“And he’s a winner on the pitch, too, helping end that 30-year wait for the title. Gerrard’s right. The captain’s armband, that symbol of taking responsibility, suits Henderson well.”
With that being said, it would be a no-brainer for Klopp to unleash Henderson over the remaining 12 league fixtures as he could be the guiding light that Liverpool desperately need to secure a Champions League qualifying spot for next season.
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