Henderson’s contract only papers over the cracks for Liverpool

Jordan Henderson

Jordan Henderson’s new five-year deal at Liverpool is a piece of excellent news for the Anfield club, with the England international an essential player in Brendan Rodgers’ side.

Despite his extension however, Reds fans should not get too carried away by the news for a number of reasons.

The former Sunderland man has stated in the past that he had no intentions of leaving the Merseyside club, while the allure of more than likely being given the club captaincy next season ensured he was always likely to stay.

Unlike fellow contract rebel Raheem Sterling, Henderson’s loyalty to the club that has made him into the player he currently is has never really been in doubt.

With Steven Gerrard leaving the Merseyside outfit this summer, Henderson will have a role in filling the veteran’s boots on the pitch, while his presence, stature and leadership will play a significant part in negating the newfound absence of the Reds legend.

However, if the truth is told, Liverpool’s midfield has been in need of an overhaul for quite a while and this must be Brendan Rodgers’ priority in the transfer market this summer.

Henderson’s barnstorming performances in recent years from the centre of the park have papered over the cracks of the reality that Gerrard, despite his reputation and past achievements, has not been the driving force of days gone by.

Steven Gerrard and Jordan HendersonAlongside the former Sunderland man in the boiler room, Liverpool’s current options of Lucas Leiva and Joe Allen are solid without being at a level to consistently dominate games.

For a team that has ambitions of finishing in the top four, Henderson and one other is not of the required standard to go head-to-head with the Premier League’s best.

Chelsea have Fabregas and Matic, Arsenal have Coquelin and Cazorla, United possess Carrick, Herrera and a revitalised Fellaini, City have Toure and Fernandinho.

Looking at Liverpool’s options, they are not at the same standard.

Henderson has the potential to be the next Gerrard for the Reds, but a partner with similar quality is needed for the Merseyside club to truly compete with the best in the business.

Emre Can arguably has the potential to be that player, but the German’s impressive showings at centre-half suggest that the former Bayern Munich youth graduate will continue in the team’s rearguard.

As such, expenditure on a new central midfielder is necessary this summer to complement the news of Henderson’s extension.

With a likelihood that the Reds will be without Champions League football next season, it makes the challenge of finding someone of the required standard all the more difficult.

Henderson’s commitment to the club is admirable and the English star certainly deserves the captaincy next season.

However, getting Sterling to do likewise or finding a Gerrard-esque midfielder to take Liverpool to the next level is an unenviable task.

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