Ferdinand, Owen laud Liverpool star after Rangers win but predict lineup change for Arsenal clash

Date published: Wednesday 5th October 2022 11:42 - Will Ford

Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson

Rio Ferdinand and Michael Owen were both full of praise for Jordan Henderson after his display in Liverpool’s win over Rangers on Tuesday.

A Trent Alexander-Arnold free-kick and a penaly from Mohamed Salah escured a 2-0 victory on a comfortable night for Jurgen Klopp’s side.

Henderson, who’s been criticised for his performances this term, thrived in a double-pivot alongside Thiago Alcantara, as Klopp switched up his formation, playing four attacking players in a 4-2-3-1 rather than his customary three.

“I think he’s just a really intelligent football player,” Rangers legend Ally McCoist said of Henderson on BT Sport.

“He can sniff out danger, he can sit in the little holes when he needs to. He can get himself forward, he can finish and as we’ve seen on occasions tonight, he’s still an excellent passer of the ball.”

Premier League leaders Arsenal are next up for Liverpool, and although Ferdinand praised Henderson and saw the benefit of Liverpool players, he reckons Klopp will veer on the side of caution at the Emirates on Sunday.

Ferdinand said: “He’s someone who enjoys the responsibility. He’s grown into being the captain of this football club.

“I think Fabinho plays against Arsenal. He’s fantastic in the defensive midfield area. He’s been a mainstay, so I can’t see him not coming in and playing.

“Having those four attacking players against this particular opposition was perfect but I think Arsenal are a totally different proposition and they won’t be able to go out there and play as freely or expansively as they did today.”

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Michael Owen agreed that it would be “really brave” to play four attacking players against the Gunners.

“It will make him [Klopp] think about whether he should [stick with the same XI],” Owen said.

“Fabinho’s been one of the poorer players this season, but I do agree it’s really brave to stick four of them against an Arsenal team that are flying at the moment.

“But tonight will give him some confidence in thinking maybe for the future I might do that. He’s got so many good attacking players.”

But the former Liverpool striker suggested Henderson could well be worthy of a starting place for England at the World Cup, apparently entirely forgetting about one Jude Bellingham.

“We’re not inundated with great players in that position, that sitting midfielder, disciplined role,” Owen added.

“Of course, Declan Rice is a shoo-in, he’s going to play. Kalvin Phillips is injured at the moment and it’s not a short-term injury.

“Who do you look at beyond them? Henderson has got to be in with a shout. He gets the best out of others as well, he’s a selfless player. Just the perfect captain.”

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