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Henderson feels the pressure of Liverpool captaincy

They are still the iconic images attached with the glorious triumphs of Liverpool’s trophy-laden past.

From the likes of Ron Yeats to Emlyn Hughes, Phil Thompson to Graeme Souness, Alan Hansen to Steven Gerrard, victorious Liverpool captains beamed from ear to ear as they hoisted the spoils.

Now Jordan Henderson is desperate to add himself to that illustrious list ahead of Liverpool’s Capital One Cup final against Manchester City on Sunday.

Leading Jurgen Klopp’s squad at Wembley for the first time will certainly be a source of great pride for the Englishman but his eyes are set firmly on the prize.

Henderson is also aware that his tenure as Liverpool captain will ultimately be judged by what he has added to the Anfield trophy room.

“What other captains of this club have achieved has to inspire you really,” he feels the pressure.

“You will always get judged as a player but as well, as a captain, you will be judged on what you win basically.

“If you’re doing well and the team is doing well, winning everything, you become a very good captain.

“At the other end if you’re not playing so well, if you’re not winning trophies, you will be judged in a different way.

“I knew that before I took on the role. Sunday is a big occasion not only for me but for all the players and the club as well.

“It’s not about me or whether I’m a good captain or not, it’s about lifting a trophy. It doesn’t matter who lifts it at the end of the day.

“I just want to lead by example, help others around me and give us the best opportunity to do that. The main thing is winning that trophy.”

Henderson’s first season with the armband happens to be far from plain sailing.

As if the huge challenge of replacing the talismanic figure of Steven Gerrard was not hard enough, the 25-year-old’s season has also been mostly hampered by a persistent heel injury.

After limping off the pitch against Bournemouth back in August, he was sidelined for three long months which is the longest absence of his career.

He was also diagnosed with plantar fasciitis; a thickening of the plantar fascia which is a band of tissue running underneath the sole of the foot.

Henderson even broke a metatarsal while training with teammates but it was the problem with his heel which all along gave him sleepless nights. There was no quick fix to solve the problem but a range of injections, including nerve blocks, got him back in action again in late November.

Medical experts had warned that a long-term solution would only be possible if the fascia ligament had ruptured to relieve the build-up of pressure. That actually happened partially against his former club Sunderland in late December before it went completely in January’s defeat to Manchester United.

Henderson is not at all a stranger to Wembley. Apart from his England outings, this will be his fifth appearance at the Wembley with Liverpool.

He was an important member of the Reds’ 2012 League Cup winning team under Kenny Dalglish – just eight months after his £16million move from Sunderland.

Henderson returned to the capital again to help beat Everton in the FA Cup semi-final before the heartache of a final defeat to Chelsea.

It has taken Liverpool four long years to reach another major final; with the painful memories of last April’s woeful FA Cup semi-final loss to Aston Villa at Wembley still fresh.

“When you come to a huge club like Liverpool you want to improve as a player and win trophies and in my first season I was fortunate that we were in two cup finals,” he said.

“You’re thinking then that this could be normal, every season. But since then there hasn’t been much to compare to that.”

Henderson, who was named captain by Brendan Rodgers last summer, also admits wearing the armband has finally changed him. His duties on Sunday will extend much more than simply establishing his authority on the contest in midfield.

 

 

 

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