Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has said that Jordan Henderson’s call up to the England squad is brilliant and it merits his start to the season.
Speaking at the pre-match press conference ahead of Liverpool’s game with Fulham, the Liverpool boss said: ‘It’s a big credit to him that I’ve been able to play him in a couple of positions. He’s that type of player who can play in those positions really well.
‘He’s shown already this season in a wing-back role and a central midfield role how versatile he is but he always adds something to it, he’s got a tremendous work rate. I think you really sense now that the supporters are taking to him, they really appreciate what he’s given to the shirt and as each game goes on he’s getting better and better.’
Rodgers also said that Luis Suarez seems as happy as he is ever been at Liverpool despite concerns that he may reassess his future at the end of the season if Liverpool don’t achieve Champions League qualification.
‘I think he recognises that we’ve got a real, genuine chance this year of breaking in there. Last year was a transition and the second part of the season was a bit of improvement and obviously we’ve had a difficult summer. But he’s come back and is more mature and his performance level has been high and he sees it as a genuine chance to make that [the top four].’
The Northern Irishman was also asked about the fitness of Martin Kelly, who was left out against Arsenal despite Glen Johnson’s freak illness, in favour of John Flanagan, but Rodgers has stressed that Kelly’s primary concern is to get himself back to full fitness.
‘That’s the most important element of Martin’s career at the moment. It’s just going to take time. He’s playing under 21 games to get his fitness. He’s a multi-functional player, he can play in both positions well at full-back and at centre-half.
‘We’re just trying to give him as much game time as we possibly can outside of the first team so when he goes in he can really contribute without worrying about whether he’s going to break down or not.’
Rodgers is also wary of the threat that Fulham will bring to Anfield on Saturday, and thinks that Martin Jol’s experience has resulted in him doing a good job at Craven Cottage, despite his future being under the spotlight.
‘I think he’s done an excellent job there. Obviously he’ll be limited in terms of his budget and what he has but he’s brought in some very, very good players and had a great win the other week at Crystal Palace and they’ll be looking to come to us and put on a strong performance away from home.’
image: © Bernard Chan