When Liverpool announced that Jordan Henderson was going to replace Steven Gerrard as the captain of the club, the collective response from fans tended to skew more negative rather than positive.
Henderson was always going to be judged way too harshly. He was never going to be able to match the talent and status of the man who came before him. Gerrard was an all-time great, probably the greatest Liverpool player ever. The biggest question surrounding Henderson’s appointment was whether he would grow into the role as time progressed or if he would buckle under pressure.
Henderson truly showed that he has everything to be the Reds’ captain for years to come last week when he called for a team meeting before the match against Tottenham. The meeting came a few days after a 2-0 loss to Hull City, a result that continued a two-month long run of terrible performances by the players.
During that spell, the club fell from second place to fall all the way to sixth by the time the match against Tottenham started. Everything was in place for yet another lackluster performance by Liverpool, the Spurs were determined to prove that not only were they were the proper team to challenge Chelsea for the title, but also that they were finally going to break into being one of the top clubs in the Premier League alongside the top-five.
Henderson however, was not going to let that happen. The meeting was described as an opportunity for all the players, both senior and non-senior, to air any grievances. According to Adam Lallana, “there was a sense of everyone coming together”. And come together they did. As soon as the match started, the Liverpool players pinned Tottenham back and kept them under pressure.
They took advantage of a Spurs’ defense that was missing both Jan Vertonghen and Danny Rose. Both of Sadio Mane’s goals came as a result of confusing their opponents and creating chaos that worked in the Reds’ favor. While they weren’t particularly beautiful goals, a goal is a goal. Every single Liverpool player worked hard all match and fed off the energy that the home fans provided.
While the victory still doesn’t solve the issues the team has had against clubs closer to the bottom of the table, it was clearly a step in the right direction. It is also encouraging to see that Henderson is growing more and more into his position both on-and-off the pitch. Hopefully he doesn’t have to call many more players-only meetings in the future but fans can take solace in the fact that Henderson won’t be afraid to call one if necessary.