Henderson vs Xabi Alonso – Why The Current Liverpool Captain Edges Out Former Fan Favourite

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Liverpool’s captain Jordan Henderson has been in brilliant form for Liverpool this season, helping his side to the second position in the Premier League. He has been moved around in the midfield by Jürgen Klopp frequently this season and the England international has performed well in whichever role he’s been asked to fill.

Henderson, having mostly played in a slightly advanced position for Liverpool before Jürgen Klopp moved him to the base of Liverpool’s midfield at the beginning of this season, has adapted really well and has vindicated his boss’ decision with his excellent displays.

The 26-year old’s adaption to his new position has impressed one of his illustrious predecessors in the role for the Reds, a Liverpool legend, Xabi Alonso.

“Jordan has so much energy, he plays well and he’s very complete. Not just as a holding midfielder, he’s able to get closer to the box. He’s becoming a very important player,” said the Spaniard in praise of Henderson.

Alonso is a true master when it comes to the deep playmaker role. The Spaniard, 34, still operates at the fulcrum of Bayern Munich’s midfield having had great success in the position for the Reds, Real Madrid and his country in the past.

With Henderson’s performances gathering praise from the legend himself, we compare their season so far for Liverpool and Bayern Munich respectively:

Henderson, having played 12 times in the Premier League this season, has scored a solitary goal, creating 16 chances and also has two assists to his name while Alonso, in the German Bundesliga, has scored a goal more than the Englishman and has created 15 chances, but no assists so far in 10 appearances in 2016-17.

They are a close match when it comes to the passing department as Henderson, who has been highly influential going forward, has completed 773 passes this season with a pass accuracy of 88%, of which 76% were forward passes, whereas the Spaniard has completed 696 passes, of which 77% were forward passes, with an accuracy of 89%.

Liverpool’s skipper Jordan Henderson has completed more passes than any other player in the Premier League, averaging 83.5 a game, while Alonso averages 83.2 passes per game, playing for a team which dominates possession almost at will. The Reds’ midfielder has attempted more take-ons than Alonso, with 3 attempts at going past an opponent to the 34-year old’s one try.

Henderson while being impressive, dictating tempo from his deep-lying role for Liverpool, has also shown his defensive capabilities from the midfield.

The former Sunderland player, who has showed great tenacity in the middle of the park, has averaged 4.1 tackles per match – the fourth most for a midfielder in the English top flight, at a success-rate of 44%. Alonso though, isn’t as prolific in tackles as the Liverpool captain, with 1.9 tackles per game at 41% success-rate. Alonso has made 2 defensive errors this season, leading to an attempt on goal, while Henderson has made none.

But Alonso trumps Henderson in interceptions per game as the Spaniard stands at 3 interceptions per game to Henderson’s 1.7, indicating he still remains one of the best in the reading of the game. The Englishman has committed 16 fouls this season, 7 more than Alonso, and also has five yellow cards, compared to the 34-year old’s zero warnings.

Overall, there isn’t much to separate these two midfielders this season going forward, but Henderson seems to be handling his defensive responsibilities slightly better than the Spaniard.

Alonso, already a legend in all sense and Henderson, trying his hardest to fill in the giant shoes left vacant by another legend, Steven Gerrard, are at very different stages in their careers. But one thing is for sure, if Liverpool are to mount a title challenge and if Bayern are to retain their title, Henderson and Alonso, respectively, will have a major role to play for their clubs.

Note: This article was written prior to GW 12

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