Jordan Henderson has officially been named as the new captain of Liverpool Football Club following Steven Gerrard's exit after 12 years as the Reds skipper.
Henderson’s credentials as a potential leader were displayed last season as the England midfielder took control of the side in the absence of Gerrard, who was beginning to be rotated by manager Brendan Rodgers as his time at Anfield headed towards an end.
With 25-year-old Henderson coming of age under Rodgers’ tutelage, many expected the former Sunderland midfielder to be named as Gerrard’s successor, although the summer arrival of James Milner from Manchester City did offer Rodgers a more experienced candidate should he prefer a wiser head to lead his young side.
Who could Liverpool sign to replace Raheem Sterling?
Who could Liverpool sign to replace Raheem Sterling?
1/7 Felipe Anderson
The Lazio midfielder has enjoyed his breakthrough season in Italy this year, but that has alerted a number of clubs across Europe including Liverpool. The 22-year-old Brazilian is contracted to the Serie A club until 2020 and will therefore cost a significant amount if he were to move this summer, but it’s believed he has the potential to become one of the most dangerous attacking midfielders in the world if he continues his steep development curve.
2/7 Theo Walcott
Arsenal’s pace merchant is finding it hard to break back into the first team after recovering from the ruptured cruciate ligament that sidelined him for over a year. With doubts over his fitness, his suitability to the current Arsenal side and whether he’s a better option compared to his team-mates, rumours have linked him with a dramatic Arsenal exit. Liverpool would be one of the teams in for the England winger, who can also play in attack, and given that his speed can terrify any defence he would be a suitable option to replace Sterling.
3/7 Marco Reus
Any move for Reus appears to be hinged on firing Brendan Rodgers and hiring Jürgen Klopp, and given the noises coming out of Anfield, it’s unlikely to happen this summer. But if another transfer window goes belly-up, don’t be surprised to see Klopp at the club soon after with Reus in tow. The Germany international is a wonderfully gifted player who combines pace and skill to dazzle defences. He has struggled with a persistent ankle injury in recent months, but he would add a proven quality to the Liverpool ranks.
4/7 Divock Origi
Rodgers already knows one signing he will see arrive at Anfield in the summer as Belgium striker Divock Origi will complete the permanent move he agreed last year, having spent the season on loan with Lille. Rodgers could look to revert to the tactics he deployed last season when he had Luis Suarez to pair up with Daniel Sturridge, and although Origi is nowhere near the level Suarez was at present, the Northern Irishman will hope he has unearthed a gem when he arrives in the Premier League.
5/7 Alexandre Lacazette
The French forward is being courted by the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea, but Liverpool could look to show a sign of intent by launching a bid for him before their rivals. Lacazette is equally adept at playing as a striker or out wide, and it would depend on how Rodgers would choose to deploy him to where he would feature. The France international has helped Lyon secure second in Ligue 1 and will finish the season as top goalscorers barring any heroics from Andre-Pierre Gignac, who trails by six goals.
6/7 Jeremy Menez
Menez’s brother and agent has fuelled talk of a move away from AC Milan by admitting he is likely to leave this summer, and even addressed rumours of a move to Liverpool as well as Monaco. However, at this point in time they are just rumours, and despite being able to play out wide he is more suited to an attacking role through the middle.
7/7 Ezequiel Lavezzi
The Argentine has fallen off the radar in recent months, but his future at Paris Saint-Germain remains far from certain and a move to the Premier League has always appeared on the cards. At home out wide on the wing, Lavezzi can also do a job up front, and would bring a physicality to the attack that is currently missing in Sterling, Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Ibe.
But Liverpool have confirmed that Henderson will take on the armband after serving his apprenticeship as vice-captain last season, and his first task will be to gel a side that already shows seven new signings this season in a bid to return to the top four and secure Champions League qualification.
Henderson admitted that it was a "great honour" to be named captain of a club with the stature of Liverpool.
"I’m absolutely delighted and proud. It is a great honour and a huge privilege to be named as the captain of this football club," he said.
Rodgers added: "Jordan has grown as a person and as a player since arriving at Liverpool and is ready to take up this challenge.
Henderson arrived on Merseyside in 2011 in a deal worth up to £20m, and the pressure of such a hefty price-tag at just 21 years of age appeared to get to him as he struggled to reproduce his Sunderland form that led to then-manager Kenny Dalglish making the big money move for him.
However, with Rodgers’ arrival came an injection of trust, and Henderson repaid the Northern Irishman’s faith by helping to inspire Liverpool to a second place finish in the Premier League in 2013/14, securing a return to Europe’s elite competition in the process.
Despite Liverpool’s below-par campaign last season, Henderson was still one of the standout players at Anfield, and he has been duly rewarded with the captain’s armband for what the club hope will be the foreseeable future.
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