Jordan Henderson taking over the captaincy from Steven Gerrard was up there with the toughest of jobs in football. It was like taking over from Sir Alex Ferguson as Manchester United manager.
You don’t want to follow the man. You want to follow the man who followed the man.
I know what the pressure of pulling on that armband is like. A lot of people might just see the letter ‘C’ alongside a name on the team sheet and think nothing more of it. You do when you are the captain of Liverpool football club, believe me.
Jordan Henderson captained Liverpool for the 100th time in victory against Arsenal
When you walk out as the skipper at Anfield, you think of the players of the past who have performed the same role.
You think about Graeme Souness, Phil Thompson, Alan Hansen and more. You think about what they did as captains and what you could do too. So many greats wore this armband for Liverpool… can I do it justice?
I’m sure Henderson will have thought the same. He won’t have taken being named the new leader of this club lightly, especially after taking over from a legend like Gerrard.
The former Sunderland man has dealt very well with high levels of pressure and expectation
Henderson was under pressure. There was expectation on the England midfielder, and he got a lot of stick at times. He had his haters, but he has hushed them all.
The 29-year-old from Sunderland became a centurion on Saturday afternoon. That was the 100th time he walked out as Liverpool captain in the Premier League.
I have never been to watch my former side and left thinking Henderson did not have a right good go. At the very least, he puts in a shift. You can always count on him to give his all.
He has not got Gerrard’s X Factor in midfield, but who has? He was one of a kind. But Henderson is still worth his weight in gold for what he offers Liverpool, on and off the pitch. He does what he does brilliantly. He’s not flash, he’s not flamboyant. He just does his job.
In club legend Steven Gerrard, Henderson had impossible footsteps to follow in
There were always going to be questions asked of Henderson when he became captain. ‘But he’s not Gerrard,’ you would hear people say, and that’s fine. That’s their prerogative.
But no one will ever replace Gerrard, really. How do you follow the King of the Kop? Henderson took on the toughest of tasks when he was handed the armband at the Anfield club, and we cannot fault his endeavour.
On June 1, he won the Champions League in Madrid after his team beat Tottenham. That saw him become only the fifth Liverpool captain to lift the European Cup, following on from Emlyn Hughes, Thompson, Souness and his predecessor Gerrard.
Now he will want to become their first captain to clinch the Premier League.
Henderson was fifth Liverpool captain to lift Champions League and now wants the league
Solskjaer needs to show leadership
I felt there was a big over-reaction to Paul Pogba’s missed penalty against Wolves last week. I shared dressing rooms with a lot of players who did not want to take penalties.
Pogba had the courage to take one, and Rui Patricio produced a great save. At Old Trafford on Saturday, Marcus Rashford took one, hit the post and Manchester United lost 2-1 to Crystal Palace. It happens.
United now have to bounce back, and what I want to see from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is some leadership.
I get the sense that is what the club have been lacking lately. I’d like to see Solskjaer get tough in public when he is discussing his players — not to the same extent as Jose Mourinho, but just enough to let them know who is boss.
In stepping up to take a penalty for Manchester United, Marcus Rashford showed bravery
The high-press is infectious
Whenever I watch Liverpool and Manchester City, I am taken aback by their forward players’ determination to win possession high up the pitch.
Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino do not stop working for one another, and neither do Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva.
Their endeavour is infectious and it encourages the rest of the team.
Sadio Mane forms part of an impressive Liverpool front three who lead an aggressive press
Courage pays off for Lampard
Let’s give Frank Lampard credit for the way he secured his first Premier League win as a manager at Norwich.
There was pressure on his side to win but Lampard had the courage to start with Tammy Abraham up front and his bravery was rewarded as the 21-year-old got two goals.
Abraham is not the finished article. I think he needs to be nastier and a master of the dark arts like Diego Costa. Then maybe the No 9 shirt will be his for the foreseeable future.
Frank Lampard should be recognised for his bravery in selecting striker Tammy Abraham
Wesley and Haller silence the doubters
I’m sick of seeing strikers written off after one or two outings. We need to give them time. Back in the day, we would wait 10 games to judge a player properly. That’s why I’m glad two strikers in particular showed what they are about this weekend to silence the critics.
One was Aston Villa’s Wesley, a £22million buy from Bruges, the other West Ham’s Sebastien Haller. a £45m purchase from Eintracht Frankfurt. Neither had played in the Premier League but both led the line and scored.
Against Everton on Friday, Wesley made a well-timed run behind the back line before having the composure to slide a shot beyond Jordan Pickford. Haller scored twice at Watford on Saturday, one a tap-in, the other an overhead kick.
They did their jobs and led their teams to their first wins of the season. Now let’s get off their backs and see how they progress.
Wesley made a great run to score his first Aston Villa goal and demonstrate his worth