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JAMIE REDKNAPP: Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is becoming a serial winner

Jordan Henderson is making a habit of lifting trophies for Liverpool.

To think his first official season as Reds captain ended with the club finishing eighth in the Premier League is remarkable.

He took over from a legend in Steven Gerrard in 2015 and it was not the easiest time for him or his team-mates. Jurgen Klopp replaced Brendan Rodgers midway through the season and they eventually missed out on Europe. 

But look at Henderson now. A Champions League winner, a Club World Cup winner, and a Premier League winner in-waiting.

Liverpool and England star Jordan Henderson is making a habit of lifting trophies for his side 

How many kids at home will have pictures pinned to their walls of this guy lifting a trophy surrounded by his team-mates?

All great teams should have at least three leaders and Liverpool have plenty of players who look like captaincy material to me, including Virgil van Dijk and James Milner.

Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson had Roy Keane, Ryan Giggs and so on. Arsenal under Arsene Wenger had Tony Adams, Martin Keown and more.

On Saturday, Liverpool won the Club World Cup six months after the Champions League win

On Saturday, Liverpool won the Club World Cup six months after the Champions League win 

Henderson has kept hold of the Liverpool armband since 2015 and their rapid rise during that time is no coincidence. With him as skipper, their league finishes have gone from eighth, to fourth, to fourth, to second in 2018-19.

Now they sit top of the tree at Christmas and 14 of the 27 teams to manage that in Premier League history went on to win the title at the end of the season. With an 11-point lead over Manchester City and a game in hand, Liverpool have one hand on the trophy.

All of this sudden success could not be happening to a nicer man.

Speaking to friends at Liverpool, a lot of what Henderson does goes unnoticed. As a former captain of that football club, I know what it takes.

Being a skipper in football is not the same as cricket, but it takes sacrifice and Henderson knows how to create a certain atmosphere.

He’s unselfish. You may have a stinker on a Saturday but when you rock up at Melwood on a Monday morning, you had better be ready to pick up the pieces for your team-mates. He does that. He may have concerns about his own form, but he will always think about how he can help others first.

The Liverpool midfielder (left) has come a long way since first taking the armband back in 2015

The Liverpool midfielder (left) has come a long way since first taking the armband back in 2015

He is the manager on the pitch to a certain extent. He is Klopp’s go-to guy, his earpiece.

To be named Liverpool captain was the greatest achievement of my career. I wore the armband with pride and Henderson does too. That club deserved to be named champions of the world on Saturday and anyone who says this trophy does not matter is deluded.

This was a trophy the club had never won before, despite those iconic teams of the Eighties coming so close.

For the 2019-20 edition to win that final against Flamengo at the weekend was big. Don’t let anybody tell you differently.

DE BRUYNE IS A GENIUS 

If I was not lucky enough to be a pundit — and believe me, I pinch myself every day — I would pay good money to watch Kevin De Bruyne. 

I was at the Etihad on Saturday and De Bruyne reminded me of the 1985 film Weird Science. For younger readers, the movie was about two lads who tried to design their perfect girl. 

I would pay good money to watch Kevin de Bruyne, he is in contention for Player of the Year

I would pay good money to watch Kevin de Bruyne, he is in contention for Player of the Year

That’s what the football Gods did with De Bruyne. He pings 20-yard passes like Steven Gerrard, crosses like David Beckham, bursts into space like a sprinter, and has the football IQ of a genius (I don’t use that final term lightly, either). 

Who wins Player of the Year? Even if Liverpool win the title, that award should go to the best player. Right now that is De Bruyne, ahead of Sadio Mane, Virgil van Dijk and Jamie Vardy.

ARTETA HAS A CULTURE PROBLEM TO SORT 

Could you imagine Granit Xhaka doing what he did towards Arsenal fans, or Mesut Ozil kicking his gloves in anger, if Pep Guardiola or Jurgen Klopp were in charge at Arsenal? No, me neither.

Players get away with too much at that club and new manager Mikel Arteta has a culture problem to solve.

Arteta talked about being ‘ruthless’ at his unveiling on Friday evening and that is what he has to be.

Mikel Arteta must show the resolve of rival bosses to sort Arsenal's culture problem out

Mikel Arteta must show the resolve of rival bosses to sort Arsenal’s culture problem out

Being a No 2 is a world away from being a No 1. Arteta now has to make the big decisions, nurture players, talk to the press, take defeats on the chin.

Managers and their sidekicks react differently to defeats. Years ago, when my dad would lose matches, my mum would tell me to stay out of his way!

So let’s see how Arteta does, now he is the one in the hotseat.

A TRUE GENTLEMAN 

Martin Peters, a key member of England’s greatest-ever team, passed away on Saturday.

Every time I saw Martin he would tell me stories about my dad as a player. And my dad told me so many stories about him in return. What a gentleman he was. A box-to-box midfielder known as ‘The Ghost’. He really was a legend and my thoughts go out to his family and friends. 

JOY ON THE ROAD 

A home form table for 2019-20 ranks Southampton 20th in the Premier League. After Saturday’s win at Aston Villa, an away form table ranks them eighth!

When struggling, some sides prefer to play away from home and there is nothing wrong with that. 

When on the road you can work on the counter and perhaps stay in your comfort zone more. It seems Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Saints prefer that at the moment, and they travel to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea next.

Southampton seem to find life on the road far more comfortable than playing at St Mary's

Southampton seem to find life on the road far more comfortable than playing at St Mary’s

 MY TEAM OF THE WEEK

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