Quantcast

John Hopoate charged with driving while on a suspended licence

From a 200-game superstar to humble labourer: How Footy bad boy John Hopoate, 46, is working at a smash repair yard to feed his...
More

    Greg Norman, 65, sends fans wild as they notice a VERY naughty detail in his shirtless beach photo

    Golf legend Greg Norman, 65, sends fans wild as they notice a VERY naughty detail in his shirtless beach photo - so did you...

    Wildlife officials discover mysterious 12-foot-tall metal monolith in the middle of a Utah desert 

    Wildlife officials discover mysterious 12-foot-tall metal monolith standing in the middle of a Utah desert State workers in a helicopter noticed the shiny marker while...

    Wildlife officials discover mysterious 12-foot-tall metal monolith in the middle of a Utah desert 

    Wildlife officials discover mysterious 12-foot-tall metal monolith standing in the middle of a Utah desert State workers in a helicopter noticed the shiny marker while...

    Can Jordan Henderson become Liverpool’s central defender?

    After Jurgen Klopp labelled his Club World Cup performance at centre-back ‘exceptional’, can Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson fill the role in the Premier League as West Ham visit Anfield?

    • Liverpool face a defensive crisis following Fabinho and Virgil van Dijk’s injuries 
    • Jurgen Klopp has a big decision to make ahead of facing West Ham on Saturday 
    • Captain Jordan Henderson looks set to make his second appearance at the back 
    • Sportsmail takes a look at the midfielder’s credentials in filling in the position 

    It may well be a case of cometh the hour, cometh the man this week for Jordan Henderson and Liverpool.

    The injury-ravaged Reds have entered crisis territory, after makeshift central defender Fabinho went down clutching his hamstring in the Champions League.

    Liverpool are now severely depleted across the back line, with Virgil van Dijk out for the majority of the season and Joel Matip still on the treatment table.

    This leaves Jurgen Klopp with only Joe Gomez as his one fit senior centre-back, with a selection headache now causing a searing pain as time runs out before the visit of an in-form West Ham on Saturday. 

    Just as he did last summer, Jurgen Klopp could be about to place Jordan Henderson in defence

    And so, when he needs dependability more than ever, the Liverpool manager looks set to turn to one of his most trusted troops.

    Captain Jordan Henderson has shown a willingness time and time again to come to Liverpool’s aid, playing across the park regardless of his level of experience in a certain area.

    But will the 30-year-old be able to step up to the plate adequately, in a position he has previously referred to as feeling ‘very different’ for him? Sportsmail examines.

    Mr. Reliable

    Klopp will be well aware that Henderson’s broad shoulders can take on the responsibility, and his captain is the most vocal player on the pitch for the Reds week-in, week-out.

    Statistically Henderson is up there with Liverpool’s most frequent tacklers and ball-winners in the starting XI.

    Henderson leads the midfield when it comes to total interceptions made so far this season, and has the transferable skills to sit deeper into central defence.

    Henderson is a vocal leader for his side and is willing to play wherever the manager asks

    Henderson is a vocal leader for his side and is willing to play wherever the manager asks

    After years of working with Henderson, Klopp knows he is able to rely upon one of his most experienced stars to take on a variety of roles, from the sitting No.6 to in the hole behind the main striker. 

    The former Sunderland man is also one of the more pliable stars on the pitch when it comes to putting ego and status aside.

    Henderson barks commands on a weekly basis in the Liverpool midfield, though will be more than willing to listen to and take instructions from those around him, even far less senior players. 

    Prior experience

    This will not be a maiden voyage for Henderson, if indeed he is selected as Liverpool’s centre-back option for the visit of the Hammers. 

    Klopp called upon Henderson in a similar situation just over a year ago, when he needed his captain to feature as a centre back in the semi-final of the Club World Cup.

    In the semi-final encounter with Mexican outfit Monterrey, Henderson featured alongside Gomez in the absence of Van Dijk and played out the full 90 minutes from the back line.

    The 30-year-old marshalled the defence and looked very much in his element, helping those around him retain composure after his partner Gomez was booked during a frenetic second half.

    Henderson played in central defence against Monterrey last summer in the Club World Cup

    Henderson played in central defence against Monterrey last summer in the Club World Cup

    Liverpool won the game 2-1, proceeded to the final, and Henderson very much proved his versatility.

    It may well be more of the same on Saturday, therefore, with Klopp perhaps much more inclined to go with Henderson once again, while filling the void in midfield with the returning Thiago Alcantara or Naby Keita – should the duo pass late fitness tests.

    Speaking of Henderson’s performance on the big stage, in the aftermath of the Monterrey win, Klopp said: ‘We had for the first time the situation where we had only one centre-half left and Hendo did an exceptional job there, the whole team did that.’ 

    On his own first outing as a Liverpool centre-back, Henderson told BBC Sport at the final whistle: ‘It was a bit different.

    ‘But I just tried to do my best in that position, I had great people around me – Robbo [Andy Robertson] and Joe [Gomez] were talking to me all the time.

    ‘The most important thing was the win (and) we defended pretty well for the majority of the game. We would have liked to have scored another couple of goals, but overall I think we’ve got to be delighted with the way things went in the end.’

    Shift in dynamic

    Henderson’s move would have course have other repercussions on the Liverpool name, most pressingly the disruption it would cause in the midfield and how the team sets up generally.

    The Reds would lose the endless box-to-box running of Henderson, who frequently finds himself as the centre axis in midfield linking Robertson’s winging across the field to Trent Alexander-Arnold’s.

    Henderson filling in for Fabinho will see Liverpool with depleted options in the midfield

    Henderson filling in for Fabinho will see Liverpool with depleted options in the midfield

    Klopp therefore will need to shuffle the pack, perhaps handing Takumi Minamino a start and deploying the Japan international in a deeper role.

    After playing Henderson in defence against Monterrey a year ago Klopp did admit to reporters afterwards that his team naturally could not function in the same way as they are accustomed. 

    ‘It was interesting to watch, interesting to analyse,’ Klopp said.

    ‘A couple of things of course didn’t work out because the patterns in the team, things that we are absolutely used to, were not there.’ 

    Takumi Minamino (left) and Curtis Jones are likely to be utilised by Klopp on Saturday

    Takumi Minamino (left) and Curtis Jones are likely to be utilised by Klopp on Saturday

    Should Liverpool also still be without both Thiago and Keita, midfield options will also be scared, particularly without the presence of Henderson.

    Local lad Curtis Jones can expect to be called upon, while Klopp will no doubt be hoping for the experienced head of James Milner to play a huge role. 

    The opposition

    West Ham will arrive at Anfield feeling as though they can very much pull off a shock, particularly against Liverpool’s weakened ranks.

    In their last outing David Moyes’ side held Manchester City to a 1-1 stalemate, while prior to that they pulled off a remarkable 3-3 comeback draw against Jose Mourinho and Tottenham Hospur courtesy of a last-gasp injury time screamer by Manuel Lanzini.

    Manuel Lazini helped an in-form West Ham to a remarkable comeback against Tottenham

    Manuel Lazini helped an in-form West Ham to a remarkable comeback against Tottenham

    The Hammers can move within the top five of the table with victory at Anfield, and will be paying close attention to the back line Klopp selects in order to determine any potential weakness.

    A blow has arrived for the visitors however, after it was confirmed talisman Michail Antonio is out for six weeks due to a hamstring injury.

    This may provide Klopp with food for though, and perhaps give youngster Rhys Williams an even greater chance of being handed his first senior Liverpool start.

    The 19-year-old performed admirably in the Champions League against both Ajax and Midtjylland, and will be confident of performing brightly especially with the physical presence of Antonio out of the system.

    West Ham forward Michail Antonio (middle) could be out for six weeks with a hamstring injury

    West Ham forward Michail Antonio (middle) could be out for six weeks with a hamstring injury 

    This would allow Henderson to continue in midfield, going up against the likes of Declan Rice and impressive summer signing Tomas Soucek.

    With the game now just 24 hours away, decision within the Liverpool hierarchy will have already been made.

    If called upon Henderson has all the raw skills to tick the boxes as a makeshift centre-back. Liverpool will just be hoping the nerves do not get the better of him. 

    LEAVE A REPLY

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    Latest Posts

    Edward Murray, the eldest brother of Bill Murray and an inspiration for Caddyshack, passes away

    Ed Murray, the eldest brother of Bill Murray and an inspiration for Caddyshack, passes away as his brothers honor his legacy By Brian Gallagher For...

    Columnist Suzanne Moore reveals she left the Guardian because she was ‘betrayed and bullied’

    Columnist Suzanne Moore reveals she left the Guardian because she was 'betrayed and bullied' for standing up for women amid 'transphobia' row and claims...

    How crucial CCTV footage in trial of Sydney swim teacher, 22, was lost

    How crucial footage of the lessons in which a swim teacher, 22, allegedly sexually touched nine of his child students was LOST - and...

    The Voice: John Holiday again destroys his competition as Knockout Rounds conclude on NBC show

    The Voice: John Holiday again destroys his competition as Knockout Rounds conclude on NBC show By Dailymail.com Reporter Published: 07:01 GMT, 25 November...