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Passing philosophy

Jordan Henderson gets to grips with Liverpool's keep-ball tactics in the Europa League.

Last Updated: 15/11/12 at 11:13

Jordan Henderson: The top-passing Englishman on Match Day 4 of the Europa League

Jordan Henderson: The top-passing Englishman on Match Day 4 of the Europa League

"I believe I have the ability to be in the team," said Jordan Henderson with regards to his Liverpool career before facing Anzhi Makhachkala in the Europa League earlier in November. If the midfielder is trying to prove he does have a future at Anfield, he cannot be faulted for effort.

I want to stay at Liverpool for as long as I can. I want to keep fighting for my place and I told the manager that. I said I wanted to stay and keep fighting because I believe I can get into the team
Jordan Henderson

The £20million summer 2011 signing from Sunderland had at the beginning of this season been offered to Fulham. New boss Brendan Rodgers was attempting to complete a player-plus-cash deal as a move for Clint Dempsey stalled before ultimately failing to materialise.

Henderson was shocked at the prospect of a another new club just 12 months after being signed by former Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish and he has found himself marginalised by Rodgers. But the 22-year-old is at least attempting to make the most of his limited opportunities to impress.

According to statistics by Western Union, who this season launched a PASS initiative to turn every successful pass in the Europa League into funding to support one day's education for young people around the world, Henderson was the top-passing English midfielder on Match Day 4 of the competition with a total of 100. An ability to keep the ball is what Rodgers' 'philosophy' embodies and he will likely have been impressed.

Five-time England international Henderson's performance was also a factor behind clubs from his country making the highest number of passes in their most recent Europa League outings. Tottenham Hotspur made 584 in their win over Maribor, Newcastle United had 451 as they drew at Brugge and Liverpool totalled 662 but still lost to Anzhi.

A failure to convert possession into goals, wins and points is perhaps an encapsulation of Liverpool, and Henderson, both at home and abroad this season. However, Rodgers, who said of his player in September: "I see fire in his belly every day", will at least be taking note of the determination.

Henderson will therefore need to continue to make an impact on Europa League Match Day 5, when Liverpool host Young Boys on Merseyside next Thursday, and so Western Union's statistics could continue to prove useful analysis.

The PASS initiative is certainly gaining momentum and one of the hottest properties in world football, Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao, has been recruited to join the likes of French World Cup winner Patrick Vieira as a global ambassador.

Colombia superstar and double Europa League winner Falcao, who is expected to be a January transfer target of Chelsea and Manchester City, said of his decision to join the scheme: "I was intrigued by Western Union's PASS initiative and immediately felt a connection.

"I've played most of my professional football career outside of Colombia. But I am still incredibly proud of my home country and welcome the opportunity, through the PASS initiative, to raise funding for educational projects across Latin America."

For more information on the Western Union PASS initiative, and for up-to-date passing stats on each team and individual in the Europa League, please visit, www.wu-pass.org

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