Could it have been different if he was available?
At the end of Liverpool’s win over Manchester City last month, the red card of Jordan Henderson for his challenge on Samir Nasri wasn’t at the forefront of the minds of Reds fans. Instead they were more concerned about the fact Liverpool had won 3-2 to become favourites in this season’s title race. Win the rest of their games and they would be champions.
Without Jordan Henderson in their side, Liverpool have picked up four points out of a possible nine – that tally suggests the Reds have missed the midfielder. Joe Allen and Lucas Leiva have played in all three of the matches. Liverpool went to Norwich City and won 3-2 in nervous fashion, lost at home to Chelsea 2-0 despite having the lions’ share of the play and somehow managed to throw away a three goal lead to Crystal Palace, which noticeably left Luis Suarez in tears at the final whistle.
Henderson is a player that can cover so much ground during a match, if there is ever a player feeling fatigued on the field, it is usually him who picks up the slack and does their leg work for them, such are his energy levels.
In the closing stages against Norwich City it was evident they were missing him as they weathered a late storm from the Canaires. At Selhurst Park, Liverpool were trying to continue a high intensity game against Crystal Palace in a search for more goals, the middle of the park looked increasingly exposed by the pace on the counter-attack the Eagles had to offer.
There is also this ability that Henderson is developing of producing something from nowhere, like the flick against Aston Villa that allowed Daniel Sturridge to strike, or the well threaded balls from the midfield and presence that is perhaps understated by the wider footballing world that he has in the middle.
That aspect of Henderson’s game could have found a way through the stubborn Chelsea defence on the day when their 11 game run came to an end.
But it was against Palace in particular when Liverpool looked as if they could do with Henderson covering ground when the game was stretched thanks to Palace’s quick counter-attacking football. Who knows what position Liverpool would be in with Henderson playing the past three games? It does seem his value to the side has increased even more without even playing.