Van Dijk: Henderson is Liverpool’s leader and never underappreciated at Anfield

Jordan Henderson remains Liverpool’s “leader”, says Virgil van Dijk, with there no chance of the club captain ever being underappreciated by those around him at Anfield.

Questions have been asked of an England international midfielder at various stages throughout his career.

Henderson has always come up with an answer, with the 29-year-old preferring to do his talking out on the field.

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He has been enjoying a productive run with Liverpool of late, with his range of passing opening up Premier League and Champions League doors for others.

Van Dijk considers that to be another indication of how important Henderson is for the Reds, regardless of what his critics might think.

The Dutch defender, who has become a talismanic presence in his own right, told The Athletic: “Jordan is such an important player for this team.

“The contribution he makes goes unnoticed sometimes. I don’t know if he’s underappreciated outside the club, but inside the club I know how highly we all think of him. He’s our captain and he always leads by example.”

Having teed up Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to open the scoring in a domestic date with Bournemouth on Saturday, Henderson provided the pass for Mohamed Salah on Tuesday which allowed the Egyptian to score a stunning goal against Red Bull Salzburg.

Van Dijk added, with the Reds safely through to the last 16 of the Champions League: “He created the second goal with a great pass and always works so hard for the team. 

“We all appreciate what he does for Liverpool, both on and off the pitch. He’s a leader.”

Henderson’s efforts have helped to keep Jurgen Klopp’s side on course to defend the continental crown they secured last season.

The Reds raised their game when required against Salzburg, in a match which could have seen them slip into the Europa League, with it suggested that the Premier League title hopefuls played like champions of Europe.

“I think so too,” said Van Dijk. “It was what we expected – very intense, up and down, we had opportunities and they had moments of danger that we had to deal with.

“When the game settled, we started to take control and we should have made life easier for ourselves by taking our chances before the goals came in the second half. We showed a lot of maturity with that performance.”

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