Liverpool FC captain Jordan Henderson is set to be on the field once again after being on the sidelines since mid-September where he picked up a foot injury. Liverpool have definitely missed their skipper and having him back will provide a big morale boost around the squad which can hopefully push them on to a top-four finish at the end of the season.
Since Jordan picked up his injury Liverpool have experimented with a few different line-ups in the middle of the park. Can, Lucas and Milner have all operated there but with the skipper close to returning who’ll sit out?
One option the reds manager, Jürgen Klopp, faces is to play Henderson alongside Can with Milner more pushed up with Coutinho and Firmino. This would be ideal as Can is a strong, powerful centre midfielder who can play at both boxes. He has a range of passes up his sleeve and with Henderson alongside we’ll have two great centre midfielders who can dictate a game physically and technically. The only downfall to this option is that Can is still young and has a lot to learn about the game so this would be ideal for the long-term rather than the short-term.
Another option Jürgen has at his disposal is to stick Henderson alongside Brazilian defensive midfielder, Lucas. Lucas has been at Liverpool for years and with that comes a lot of leadership and experience, something that Liverpool is rather lacking at the moment. Lucas is more defensive minded than Can so Liverpool will be harder to break down and ideally will concede fewer goals. Although this will be great, Lucas isn’t great going forward and has only scored 1 goal in 287 appearances for the club. This isn’t good enough for a midfielder that Jürgen Klopp needs as he requires a midfielder with great stamina and someone who has something to offer at the back and going forward. Lucas will be a great defensive midfielder for Liverpool but perhaps isn’t the best option that Jürgen has for his plans.
Lastly, there’s England international, Vice-captain James Milner. James Milner hasn’t had the best of starts for Liverpool and has been slated on social media for a few poor performances. James Milner has featured 11 times for Liverpool this season scoring 1 goal. Although those aren’t the best numbers Milner is definitely the best centre midfielder Jürgen has going forward at this moment in time. James would start next to Henderson as the 2 midfielders in Jürgen’s favoured 4-2-3-1 with the two Brazilians Coutinho and Firmino and Lallana ahead. With Sturridge out at the moment, I can only see Jürgen sticking Benteke upfront but that’s for another day. Milner will offer experience and good technical ability and would fit in well with Henderson.
Although there are many more variations that Liverpool can play in the middle of the park these are the best three that I think suit Jürgen Klopp’s style of play. It’ll be interesting to see what he goes within the upcoming weeks and how Sturridge when he returns, will fit in.
With January approaching, Jürgen may look for a new centre midfielder to fill this role as there are rumours surrounding Gundogan and a move to Anfield. We’ll have interesting months ahead as we see how Klopp will shape this Liverpool team and who’ll start alongside Henderson.
Written by @KloppAndRobbers