Former Liverpool defender Jose Enrique has hailed the importance of Jordan Henderson as the Reds skipper stands in for the injured Virgil van Dijk, as reported by the Daily Mail.
Enrique, who played at Anfield for five years including games alongside Henderson, was delighted to reveal how much Liverpool’s captain had improved since their time together, even comparing him to the club’s most influential defender.
“He’s the new (Virgil) van Dijk in the team,” claims Enrique.
“I saw (James) Milner say the other day ‘(Henderson’s) doing so well as a centre-back he needs to be careful, otherwise he’ll stay’!
“You can play him anywhere on the pitch, same with Milly, and you know they are going to perform because they are leaders.”
Filling in admirably
Henderson has been filling in admirably at centre-half for the injured Van Dijk, who has been out since October with knee ligament damage.
Jurgen Klopp’s side has seriously suffered during the Dutch defender’s absence, not helped by injuries to Joe Gomez and Joel Matip either.
And the centre-back crisis has caused a ripple effect throughout the team, with Liverpool losing Henderson’s energy in midfield.
Gerrard hangover for Henderson
Being compared to and with Liverpool greats such as Van Dijk is nothing new for Henderson.
He was constantly compared with Anfield legend Steven Gerrard because of their obvious link between club and country.
Enrique said: “(Henderson) arrived at a big team and everyone straight away is saying ‘he’s going to be the new Stevie G’ – it’s a lot of pressure.
“(Jordan) put himself under a lot of pressure as well because he really wanted to perform.”
‘Happiest man in the world’
Enrique said he spotted Henderson’s credentials from the start.
He added: “Since the first day you could see he really wanted to work hard, not just as a footballer but as a man as well.
“I’m the happiest man in the world because he really deserves everything. He’s a great captain and a great guy.
“He’s an example for every single kid in the world.”
The 30-year-old Liverpool skipper has started to shrug off the ‘Gerrard’ expectations that were loaded on him.
After all, ‘Hendo’ lifted the Premier League trophy last year, an achievement Gerrard failed to do despite his sparkling career and deserved legendary status.
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