An inflated price tag and difficult first season could have conspired to drive Jordan Henderson out of Anfield, but after sticking around in the summer, the young midfielder's determination and commitment have started to pay off.
We're past the point where any introduction is needed--we're quite fond of Jordan Henderson around here, one of us probably to the point that a restraining order isn't out of the question, and there's little that can push us off course. I'd like to think that it's not anything that completely clouds objectivity when the player comes up, as we're willing to be critical at times and critique what we feel needs improving, but I also know that the fuse is quite short when it comes to any sort of criticism that spends more time talking about the price tag than the player. Or, just hypothetically speaking, washed-up former lower-league footballers that have devoted most of their online presence to ridiculing him. Because that'd just be ridiculous.
It's fairly clear that he's in need of improvement in the final third and across the board when it comes to consistency, but along with work-rate and fitness, what can't really ever come in for criticism is the player's attitude.
"(Being told he was part of a deal to bring Clint Dempsey to Liverpool) wasn't a nice thing to hear. I didn't want to go anywhere. I wasn't playing regularly and they gave me the option if I wanted to go. I told them: 'No, I don't want to, I want to keep fighting for my place.' I came to Liverpool wanting to stay here for the rest of my career. I certainly didn't want to leave after a year.
"OK, it might not have gone to plan at the start, but I knew I could turn around and get it right. I knew I just had to take it on the chin. Even though I wasn't in the team, I felt that if I kept going, kept working hard, kept fighting, I would get my chance again, and that I would take it."
In August the potential for his inclusion in a swap deal with Fulham for Clint Dempsey seemed ridiculous, and with five months' worth of hindsight, it seems as though there's even more to be thankful for that the deal didn't go through. No slight on Dempsey, who's been decent enough for Totttenham, but with Henderson emerging as one of the club's more consistent and influential midfielders over the past two months, it'd have been a shame to see him doing the same elsewhere.
With a handful of senior squad members finding themselves on the receiving end of a public dressing down due to their lack of work ethic or questionable commitment, it's nice to read about a player for whom that's not even close to being an issue, and that his willingness to push through adversity has started to pay off.
Also, video of his performance against Arsenal, because...we don't need a reason: