Jordan Henderson splits opinion as a footballer. Many claim he is a non-entity on the pitch, unsure of what he actually brings to a team. He is not the most eye-catching, doesn't score all that many goals or unlock defences with killer passes.
So what does he actually a do? You got your answer today.
So much of football in unquantifiable in stats. The story of a game can't be told through numbers, something the Liverpool captain is a perfect example of.
Today's game was huge. This one has been circled on the calendar by both side for weeks, even when there were a number of other encounters to overcome first. Players say they take things one game at a time, but there's no way they didn't have one eye on November 10th.
Liverpool and Manchester City clashes are tough to judge, in that you're never really sure how the games will pan out. Liverpool have blitzed City on a couple of occasions, while Guardiola's side have dominated the ball in others.
This fixture last season was a rather dull affair, with both sides seemingly terrified to lose what ultimately finished as a 0-0 draw.
On a day such as today with so much at stake, big characters were always going to make the difference. Step forward Jordan Henderson.
The Liverpool captain was exceptional. He set the tone right from the outset, leading the team with his pressing and putting pressure on the ball. He's vocal, consistently demanding more from those around him.
Henderson had a mentality fitting of the occasion. When Liverpool did got the ball, he ensured they kept it moving at pace. City applied the pressure, but he was one of the reasons the home side didn't crack.
While so much of what he contributed may have gone unnoticed, you could not ignore his impact at the start of the second half. His cross for Sadio Mane's goal was phenomenal.
"One of the best crosses you will see!" 👏
Jordan Henderson picks out Sadio Mane and Liverpool are running riot at Anfield
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Henderson suffered with illness earlier in the week, which makes this performance all the more impressive. He was withdrawn just after the hour mark, which you would imagine was related to that ailment.
You could see the difference when he was no longer on the pitch. City were afforded a little bit more time on the ball, a little more space. They took advantage of it, scoring to put the pressure on late on.
City sure have had a lot of pressure since Jordan Henderson went off 🤔
— Duncan Alexander (@oilysailor) November 10, 2019
That is the thing with Jordan Henderson. You can often be unsure what he does when he is on the pitch, but you certainly notice his absence when he is no longer present.
Liverpool would hold out, securing the biggest result of their season.
Speaking to Jamie Carragher on Sky Sports after the game, he said:
There's a lot of things that I want to do to help the team. Obviously a lot of it is without the ball, but with the ball I want to create some chances and try and score some goals as well.
For us it's about doing what we do best as a team. For me it's what the manager wants me to do. When I get into positions like that I need to put in good deliveries and get in good areas to score and assist as much as I can.
For him, it's all about the team.
People continually run him down, but he is the captain of perhaps the best team in Europe at the minute. Jurgen Klopp knows more about football than most, and he sees something in Henderson. He certainly isn't in the team for sentimental reasons.
It is telling that despite all the players the manager has brought in, he has never tried to replace the England international. That speaks volumes.
If Liverpool are to end their long title drought next May, Henderson will be a big reason why.