What a season from the skipper. He’s my Player of the Year although I admit that sentiment has contributed to that.
Realistically I can’t tell you he’s been significantly better than Van Dijk or Mané (if you want to throw Trent and Robbo in there too that’s fine), but context is king and given where he has come from and the way he’s had to win over his doubters I’d say that his overall achievement is greater, especially as his impact on those around him is matched only by Van Dijk.
Lifting the European Cup last season helped him massively. It removed a lot of the doubts people had over him as a captain and it gave him a little swagger. You can see the difference in him. He’s remained humble as that’s his nature, but you know that he knows now that he’s the man.
There’s a weight been lifted off his shoulders now. The burden of leading a team that hadn’t lived up to the achievements of the great sides of the past was heavy, but that’s now been lifted and he's thriving.
Jamie Carragher spoke about how he changed after Istanbul and that it gave him the confidence and self belief that he belonged at the very highest level. He said that the same would happen with Hendo and it has.
You can see the authority and dominance in him now. He sets the tempo in our play and he’s the leader. When he isn't there we aren't as good. We miss him and it's noticeable. That's what I mean by only Van Dijk has the same influence.
The change in position following Fabinho’s arrival helped him re-establish himself and he hasn’t looked back, but what showed me just how much he’s grown as a player and a leader was what happened this season when Fabinho got injured.
Henderson had gone to Klopp last season to ask about playing in a more advanced role because he’d seen the way Fabinho was playing and he knew he wasn’t as good as him. He’d filled in for us in that number six role but he always felt he was better as one of the two box to box players.
When Klopp unleashed him in that role again he thrived. Yet this season when Fabinho went down, Hendo had to go back to the deeper role and he was sensational. We didn’t miss Fabinho at all. In fact, Henderson’s performances in that role were even better than the Brazilian’s had been. And when Fabinho came back, the skipper just went back to his favoured role and was brilliant there too.
That’s the reason why he’s my Player of the Season.
Previous Season Ratings:
This Season’s Rating: 9.5
Inspirational and fully deserving of the Footballer of the Year award voted for by the writers. He was favourite to win the PFA award too but that was postponed due to Covid and seeing as how Hendo was injured soon after the restart he'll probably miss out to Kevin De Bruyne on that. The beauty of Hendo is that he genuinely won't give a fuck as it's all about the team.
The goal against Spurs, the goal against Brighton and the cross for Mané to score against City are all worthy but let’s face it here; it’s the shuffle when he lifted the league title.
Getting injured and missing the run in.