Ian Ladyman: 'Henderson would still be in Liverpool's best XI'

Jordan Henderson would still be in Liverpool’s best XI if he hadn’t taken the Saudi money – Ian Ladyman tells It’s All Kicking Off – because Wataru Endo and Ryan Gravenberch are a DOWNGRADE on England star

  • Ian Ladyman believes that Jordan Henderson would get in Liverpool’s best XI
  • Mike Keegan questions if Liverpool have a Declan Rice or Rodri figure at No 6
  • It’s LAZY to criticise a team for setting up defensively. It requires intelligence, hard work, discipline and selflessness. Well done Man United – It’s All Kicking Off

Jordan Henderson would still start for Liverpool if he didn’t bow to the allure of Saudi cash, Ian Ladyman said on the latest episode of Mail Sport’s It’s All Kicking Off. 

And the 33-year-old, who left Anfield in the summer, would be ahead of Dominik Szoboszlai and Wataru Endo in Jurgen Klopp’s midfield pecking order.

Henderson completed a shock £12million move to Saudi Pro League side Al-Ettifaq in the summer, signing a contract reported to be worth £700,000 per week – though he denies the numbers are that stratospheric. 

Liverpool’s ex-captain played more minutes for the Reds than other midfielder besides Fabinho last season but Klopp told him he might not play regularly this campaign.

However, following a toothless performance in a 0-0 draw at Anfield against Manchester United on Sunday, Ladyman felt Liverpool’s midfield could have done with Henderson over Wataru Endo or Ryan Gravenberch. 

He told It’s All Kicking Off: ‘Liverpool’s midfield. I know McAllister wasn’t playing. There’s Szoboszlai and Endo and Gravenberch. That’s why I thought they were weak. I think Szoboszlai is a good player, but he was poor. 

Jordan Henderson would still be playing for Liverpool if he hadn’t left them for Al-Ettifaq, Ian Ladyman argued

Mail Sport’s Football Editor believes Henderson would win minutes over Wataru Endo and Ryan Gravenberch if he was still at Anfield 

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‘I’m not sure the other two are quite good enough for what Liverpool need. 

‘All the fuss about Jordan Henderson going to Saudi. If he was at Liverpool, he’d be in the team, in my opinion. If he stayed, he’d be in the team.’

Mike Keegan quipped: ‘Yeah, you would have preferred the other ‘Endo’ than the one you got yesterday. 

Sports News Correspondent Keegan continued: ‘He changed it, didn’t he, Klopp, in the second half? And that, to me, spoke volumes about his midfield. 

‘And you look at Liverpool’s rivals this year, City, there’s a Rodri. Arsenal, there’s a Declan Rice. Who’s Liverpool’s version of that?’

Ladyman agreed: ‘No, absolutely. It was Fabinho, wasn’t it, in the title year and the Champions League final years. 

‘I really think we’ve disputed a lot of Jordan’s reasons or stated reasons for going to Saudi. 

‘I think one of the reasons that we don’t dispute is that he’d been told by Klopp that he wasn’t gonna get as much game time and he couldn’t cope with it. 

‘I just think that if he’d have stayed, given that they didn’t manage to sign Caicedo in the end, I think if he’d have stayed, he probably would be in the team. 

Endo and Gravenberch do not quite meet Liverpool’s requirements at the moment, Ladyman suggested


It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football.

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‘I just think he might be in the team. Gareth Southgate thinks he’s good enough to play for England.’

Henderson has started three of England’s six games since his switch to Saudi Arabia, coming off the bench in another two. 

His involvement in qualifying games for the 2024 European Championship suggests that Southgate trusts him in his team – even if he isn’t playing the same calibre of opposition week-in, week-out as his peers. 

The midfielder enjoyed a trophy-laden era at Anfield, bringing home a Premier League title, a Champions League crown, an FA Cup, and two Football League Cups. 

That’s not to mention a Club World Cup, a UEFA Super Cup, and the much-coveted FA Community Shield. 

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