Liverpool struggling in absence of midfield lynchpin Jordan Henderson

The Reds would hope to get back their skipper in full fitness before the all-important Champions League clash against Atletico Madrid…

One defeat against Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie at the Wanda Metropolitana has derailed Liveprools’s momentum to an extent.

The Reds who were simply cruising past every opponent in the Premier League were suddenly halted by Diego Simeone’s men.

The narrow defeat in Madrid proved to be detrimental for Jurgen Klopp’s side as their form took a major dip after that. In the very next game in the Premier League, they came back from behind to register a narrow win over West Ham United, but lost the succeeding game 3-0 against Watford.

That was Liverpool’s first defeat in the league this season and that also came against a relegation-threatened Watford. The minnows ended Liverpool’s ‘Invincibles’ dream. The Reds’ misfortune continued as they crashed out of the FA Cup in the midweek losing 2-0 to Chelsea.

Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson had to leave the pitch in the 80th minute against Atletico due to a hamstring injury and the midfielder has since then not taken the field. Incidentally, Liverpool’s form has also taken a dip since their captain picked up the injury.

The English midfielder has been a leader on and off the field for the Reds. He has appeared in 25 matches in the Premier League out of which his team won 24 games and drew one. He has scored three goals in the league and provided five assists.

The 29-year-old has made 55 tackles, 24 interceptions and has won 102 duels. These statistics clearly show the pivotal role Henderson plays in Liverpool’s midfield. Also, his presence at the number six position allows Giorginio Wijnaldum to play a much freer role in midfield and create chances for the trio of Mohammed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane up front.

The England international has played a total of 34 matches this season in all competitions and Liverpool have won 28 of those matches. In the 12 games he didn’t appear, Klopp’s side won seven games. With Henderson, Liverpool’s win percentage is 82.4 per cent while without him it 52.3 per cent.

Atletico Madrid is expected to be more defensive in the second leg and will try to defend their lead. They would try to hurt Liverpool in quick counter-attacks and to stop that Klopp would need the service of his midfield general.

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