Ever since Virgil van Dijk was injured in the Merseyside derby against Everton, Liverpool will have known that they would have an uphill battle in games at some point this season.
The Dutchman has been a colossus ever since signing for Jurgen Klopp’s side, so his absence was always going to be keenly felt.
How the Reds have adapted, and will continue to adapt, will largely author where they finish up this season, but with Manchester City taking on all-comers, it’s possible that the Premier League title that they won in such devastating fashion last season may be lost at least for another 12 months.
Former player, Jose Enrique, believes that Liverpool already have their new van Dijk, however.
“He’s [Jordan Henderson] the new [Virgil] Van Dijk in the team!,” he said to the Daily Mail.
“I saw [James] Milner say the other day he’s doing so well as a centre-back he needs to be careful otherwise he’ll stay.
“You can play him anywhere on the pitch, same with Milly, and you know they are going to perform because they are leaders.
“People started criticising Hendo early on which is normal when you move to a big team. He arrived when he was 21 and I always say I understand how he was feeling because it happened to me on a lesser scale but when I arrived at Newcastle I was 21 as well and it was so difficult to start in the Premier League.
“He arrived at a big team and everyone straight away is saying “he’s going to be the new Stevie G” and it’s a lot of pressure. He put himself under a lot of pressure as well because he really wanted to perform. But since the first day you could see he really wanted to work hard, not just as a footballer but as a man as well.
“I’m the happiest man in the world because he really deserves everything. He’s a great captain and a great guy. He’s an example for every single kid in the world.”
Certainly, Henderson has been the man for all seasons and a real captain fantastic.
As a leader of men, he has continued to set the bar, and the fact that he’s been willing to sacrifice himself for the good of the team says much.