Tuesday 16 January 2018

Jordan Henderson has made an outlandish statement about one of his Liverpool teammates

Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho
Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho

Tom Rooney

Hyperbole is an all too common currency in football, so much so its use is both banal and trivial, but some bold proclamations warrant a second look.

One of the many gripes the Liverpool faithful had with erstwhile manager Brendan Rodgers was a perceived frivolousness in the transfer market.

That he was said to be beholding to the club’s divisive transfer board only made discerning their recruitment policy all the more difficult.

However, one acquisition made during the Rodgers’ era is beyond reproach – Philippe Coutinho.

The flitting Brazilian’s dervish dynamism has so often made for joyful viewing and, wonderfully, he arrived from Inter Milan for a mere £8.5m, an absolute steal by any estimation.

Case in point, his two-goal tour de force in last weekend’s 4-3 win over Arsenal, which included a sublime free-kick. The strike was his 23rd for the club in 108 appearances, having arrived in January 2013.

At times Liverpool were unplayable last season, too seldom perhaps, but when they were, Coutinho and his compatriot Roberto Firmino, tended to be at the epicentre of operations.

However, in a recent interview with the Liverpool Echo, club captain Jordan Henderson placed him on the cusp of a pantheon of players reserved for the absolute cream of the crop.

“Messi, Ronaldo and Suarez - they are seen as the elite players in world football. Philippe has certainly got the talent, the work ethic and the hunger to get into that bracket.

“He’s a fantastic player for us. I’ve seen him develop as a player during his time at Liverpool and he’s still only 24.

“If he continues to work as hard as he does and continues to develop like he has done then I’m sure he will be in that bracket before long. He’s still very young.

“Hopefully it won’t be long before people do regard him alongside the Messis of this world. We have to try to keep him fit and keep him playing like that because he was brilliant against Arsenal.”

Striking a more sober note, Henderson said that Sunday’s performance at the Emirates was far from optimum and, with Saturday’s trip to Burnley looming, the Merseyside outfit are taking nothing for granted.

Jurgen Klopp would have been far from pleased at the sight of his side conceding two late goals and offering the Gunners a lifeline, albeit a slim one.

“In the end we saw the game out and got the three points which was very pleasing but we all know we can do better.

“Burnley will be a different test and a tough test. We need to keep working and keep building as a team,” Henderson said.

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