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John Aldridge: 'Jordan Henderson is a shining example of a player who has taken his game up several levels under Klopp'

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Liverpool's Jordan Henderson is embraced by manager Jurgen Klopp after being substituted in the Premier League win over Southampton at Anfield

Liverpool's Jordan Henderson is embraced by manager Jurgen Klopp after being substituted in the Premier League win over Southampton at Anfield

REUTERS

Liverpool's Jordan Henderson is embraced by manager Jurgen Klopp after being substituted in the Premier League win over Southampton at Anfield

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson will remember Saturday's latest party at Anfield.

The march towards the Premier League title continued with a 4-0 win against Southampton and as I drove away from the ground, Henderson was the player on my mind.

Plenty of Liverpool fans rushed to judgement on Jordan after he struggled in his first few months at the club, and I was among those who questioned whether he was up to the task of leading from the front in a title-winning team.

It didn't help that he was handed the task of succeeding Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard as the club’s captain, as it seemed like an almost impossible task and yet now he is every inch a Liverpool great in his own right.

I don't remember Liverpool fans ever singing Henderson's name, despite him joining the select band of heroes who have lifted the Champions League trophy as Reds captain in Madrid last May.

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Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring their third goal with Roberto Firmino  against Southampton at Anfield

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring their third goal with Roberto Firmino against Southampton at Anfield

REUTERS

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring their third goal with Roberto Firmino against Southampton at Anfield

Jurgen Klopp admitted his Liverpool side are surprising even him after the Premier League's runaway leaders beat Southampton 4-0 to make it 100 points from the last 102 available.

Yet the Anfield faithful have finally come up with a song to salute the leader who will be eyeing up the chance to lift the Premier League trophy and cementing his place in Liverpool folklore in a few weeks time.

Henderson led the second-half charge that blew Southampton away on Saturday, scored a fine goal that made the result comfortable for Liverpool and then had a rousing ovation was he was taken off late on.

All credit to the lad because he has turned himself in a wonderful leader at the heart of this Liverpool team and I suspect manager Jurgen Klopp decided to substitute him with a couple of minutes to go because he knew the fans would give him the salute he was due.

Henderson is a shining example of a player who has taken his game up several levels working under Klopp and his coaching staff and when you look around the Liverpool team, there are examples of that.

Andy Robertson had his best game for Liverpool in some time as he raided down the flank and it was great to see Salah back to his cheeky best with a couple of second half goal that gave Klopp’s men a flattering 4-0 win.

Perhaps the only disappointment on Saturday was Roberto Firmino's failure to score his first Premier League goal at Anfield for the season and the longer his wait goes on, the more nervous he will get in front of goal.

Klopp loves Bobby because he gives so much to the team, but he will want that run without a home goal to end and when it does, it may well produce the biggest roar of the season at Anfield.

The win against Southampton may look routine when you see the comprehensive nature of the scoreline, but it was anything but in the first half as Liverpool were well below their best.

I suspect Klopp gave his players a bit of a telling-off at half-time as they were lethargic and struggling to get out of first gear against a Southampton side that gave them a few problems.

Danny Ings and Shane Long were a nuisance in the first half and there were a few occasions when the Liverpool defensive line gave them chances to score due to their carelessness.

We saw something similar in the West Ham game when goalkeeper Alisson was needed to keep the cleansheet intact and that is an area that will concern Klopp.

Liverpool are getting away with defensive mistakes against Premier League opposition, but Atletico Madrid and the teams still in the Champions League could punish them if they are not at their best.

That debate is for another day as the scenes of joy at the final whistle as Liverpool moved a ridiculous 22 points clear at the top said all you needed to know about this incredible season from this remarkable team.

That's 16 straight league wins now and they only need two more to equal Manchester City's record, while they have now gone 42 games unbeaten in the league and are just seven shy of Arsenal’s seemingly invincible record.

What this team are doing will be remembered for years to come and the focus they have shown to maintain this level of excellence for the best part of 18 months is quite extraordinary.

The Liverpool fans were singing ‘we’re gonna win the league’ once again when Southampton were beaten and with the chasing pack dropping points on a reasonably regular basis, it does feel like it is a matter of time now.

Yet Klopp and his players dare not think along those lines and I wonder whether that complacency was a factor in their lacklustre first half performance against Southampton.

I was in a Liverpool team that pretty much had the league title wrapped up by February in the 1987/88 season and while you do all you can to focus and try and remain in the moment, it can be tough when you are so far ahead.

If they beat Norwich, West Ham, Watford and Bournemouth in their next four league games, the title-winning moment may well be within reach.

What a prospect that is.

Online Editors