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Paul Machin: Liverpool need to push “exceptional” player out of starting XI next season



Paul Machin: Liverpool need to push “exceptional” player out of starting XI next season

Liverpool will be in the market for midfield reinforcements this summer which could mean Jordan Henderson has a reduced role to play going forward.

Liverpool look to finally be enacting serious changes around Anfield as Jurgen Klopp looks to reshape his squad ahead of next season, with several players set to leave the building in the summer.

James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita and Roberto Firmino have all confirmed their departures come the off-season and they likely won’t be the only experienced names to swap Merseyside for elsewhere.

One man who will be staying around is club captain Jordan Henderson, who has been at the Reds since 2011; however, Redmen TV pundit Paul Machin thinks that Klopp may start to phase out the £140k-a-week ace starting from next year.

What has Paul Machin said about Jordan Henderson?

Speaking to Football FanCast, pundit Machin believes that Henderson, alongside teammates Thiago Alcantara and Fabinho will play less minutes next campaign.

Machin told FFC: “I think Liverpool need to start to push Fabinho, Thiago and Henderson out of the first 11 more in the season coming. They’re all brilliant footballers, but they all need to be playing around 2500 minutes, 2000 to 2500 minutes, which is about 1500 less for Fabinho, it’s about 1000 less for Henderson and it’s not far off what Thiago ended up on, but Thiago hasn’t had an understudy, which has been his problem.”

In 2022/23, Henderson, who has been hailed as “exceptional”, has made 42 appearances for Liverpool across all competitions and registered three assists, as per Transfermarkt.

Nevertheless, WhoScored report that he has averaged a match rating of just 6.58/10 for his exploits on the pitch for Liverpool this term, which ranks him 16th out of their 27-strong squad in terms of consistency in performances, demonstrating obvious room for improvement.

Former Liverpool captain Graeme Souness also criticised Henderson for his reaction to criticism of his performances in November 2022 writing in his column for The Daily Mail, where he stated: “You’ve got to have a thick skin to be an elite athlete. Doubters are just something you have to deal with. I don’t think Jordan will be getting much sympathy from any quarter, given the lifestyle that football affords him, after more than a decade as a Premier League player. The only opinions he has to be concerned about are those of his manager Jurgen Klopp and the Liverpool coaching team.”

FBRef shows that Henderson hasn’t been able to bite into challenges to the same effect as normal over the past year and hasn’t fared too well when compared to his positional peers in the art of successful tackles, ranking comfortably in the bottom 20% for this metric against midfielders from Europe’s top five divisions, averaging just 1.50 per 90 minutes.

Henderson may well have his qualities in and around the dressing room, though it looks like he could well have further competition for his place at Anfield. Various sources have stated that Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount, Sporting Lisbon ace Manuel Ugarte and Bayern Munich’s Ryan Gravenberch are all transfer targets for the Reds, which could mean regular starts become hard to come by for the 32-year-old.

It looks likely that he will remain on the books either way; nevertheless, Klopp will need to avoid clinging on to sentiment if he is to get Liverpool back to where they belong next term.

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