Could Liverpool's 3-5-2 system get the best out of Jordan Henderson?

Liverpool FC - Seeing Is Believing - Jordan Henderson

The former Sunderland man may well get a chance to play more centrally in Brendan Rodgers’ new formation.

Systematically, since taking over at Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers has slowly but surely offloaded Kenny Dalglish’s unsuccessful signings, with the likes of Stewart Downing and Andy Carroll shown the door.

However, one man with an inflated transfer fee that remains at Anfield and who has seen his importance at the club rise is Jordan Henderson.

Widely criticised following an extended bedding-in period and slow start at the Merseyside club, the writing appeared to be on the wall for Henderson following Rodgers’ appointment. Despite rumours that he could be sold, the 23-year-old refused to accept defeat and has won his way back into the Northern Irish manager’s preferences.

Henderson has had to get used to playing on the right of midfield rather than in his preferred central role, and has seen his influence grow as he has become more accustomed to a wide position. However, with Rodgers’ switch to a 3-5-2, it appears that the in-form Henderson could well be in line for a berth in central midfield.

With Glen Johnson or whoever plays at right wing-back handed the sole responsibilities on the flank, Henderson will hope to command a starting berth in the boiler room alongside Steven Gerrard. In the long run, there is an argument to suggest that the Sunderland-born man is being groomed as his captain’s successor.

Henderson’s importance to Liverpool has been shown by the fact that he has started all seven of the club’s Premier League games this season so far. It is clear to see that he suits Rodgers’ style of play better than he did Dalglish’s and that he has re-found his confidence.

The real test of Henderson’s worth will be when both Lucas Leiva and Joe Allen are back available and in the reckoning. This will give Rodgers a real selection dilemma to make, as in particular the Brazilian’s combative defensive attributes have been a key part of Liverpool’s play over the last 24 months and longer.

In his current form, Henderson will look to hold down a regular starting berth in the centre of the park. If he can do so and continue to show the tenacity, work-rate and assurance on the ball that he has displayed so far this term, he will be knocking on the door of national selection once more in the not-too distant future.

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