In the last 18 months, Jordan Henderson's game has developed and he has started to fulfil the potential he showed at Sunderland early in his career. Kenny Dalglish brought Henderson to Anfield for a fee quoted by the BBC to be around £20 million which seemed hugely excessive at the time.
Henderson had only been in the Sunderland first team for two seasons before that big move came about. The pressure was on Liverpool at the time after a few poor seasons, and when that much money is spent, you are expected to make an impact. The midfielder obviously took time to settle, but he has now become a key player for Brendan Rodgers' side.
Now the vice-captain of Liverpool, Henderson has a huge role in the team. Steven Gerrard isn't always selected to start games, therefore giving Henderson the chance to lead the side, something he did for the first time against Stoke City on the 29th November; a game they won 1-0.
Gerrard is an inspiring, motivational, and vocal captain. He encapsulates everything the club is about. He is Liverpool, and it will be an almost impossible act to follow him. His rallying cry after Liverpool's 3-2 win over Manchester City last season, as reported by the Daily Mail, emphasised everything he is about. He was almost reduced to tears following such a crucial win, and it looked as if the title was going to be theirs. Things didn't turn out that way, but regardless of that, Gerrard has led Liverpool superbly throughout his career.
The amount of times 'Stevie G' has pulled Liverpool back into games and dragged them over the finish line is countless. His display against West Ham United in the 2006 FA Cup Final is a perfect example.
Henderson will have had four years alongside Gerrard if he takes over the captaincy as expected. He has learned a lot in that time, and he couldn't have had a better captain to play alongside in midfield. At just 24 years old, he could conceivably be the captain for the next 10 years. However it will be a new era at Anfield, and he needs to make his own mark on the team. Comparisons with Gerrard would be harsh, just as the comparisons between Sir Alex Ferguson and David Moyes were at Manchester United.
In the aftermath of Liverpool's 1-1 draw with Chelsea on Tuesday in the Capital One Cup, it emerged that Henderson got into an altercation with Diego Costa in the tunnel. The Guardian has reported that the two players had to be separated and although no punches were thrown, they were pushing each other and engaging in a furious argument.
Diego Costa has rubbed quite a few players up the wrong way during his short time in England, but it seems a bit out of character for Henderson to get involved. However with his increased responsibilities now, he is perhaps starting to stand up for his players and showing the leadership side to his game. Costa was accused of standing on a Liverpool player's foot in the build-up to Raheem Sterling's goal, and therefore Henderson may be putting his point across to Costa.
Captains are there to represent their team, and to be the vocal point, whether it's delivering instructions or speaking to the referee. Henderson is clearly growing and maturing as a footballer. Now he's settled at Anfield, next season seems like the perfect time to give him the captain's armband on a permanent basis.
Players like Sterling, Daniel Sturrdige, and Philippe Coutinho are still relatively young, but have played with Henderson for a number of years now. He will be a respected figure in the dressing room, and is the ideal candidate to help usher in a new era at the club.