‘No one can replace Steven Gerrard – this title win is for him,’ says Henderson | Football

Jordan Henderson has said he could never equal Steven Gerrard’s contribution to Liverpool despite captaining the club to a first title of the Premier League era.

Henderson will become the first Liverpool captain to lift the Premier League, Champions League and Club World Cup when presented with the top-division trophy at the final home game against Chelsea.

The 30-year-old has been instrumental in Liverpool’s rise under Jürgen Klopp, on and off the pitch, with his influence vindicating Brendan Rodgers’ decision to make him Gerrard’s successor as captain in July 2015.

The England midfielder remains uncomfortable with comparisons to his predecessor and insists his unique place in Liverpool’s history does not mean the challenge of replacing Gerrard has been met.

“I said this when I first took over the role of the captaincy, when people might have doubted me and criticised me as a person, but I will always say no one will replace Steven Gerrard at this club no matter who the captain is or what the team wins,” Henderson said.

“It wasn’t in my mind when I took over the captaincy to replace him; it was just to do the best I could for this club and this team and that is all I ever try to do.”

Henderson spoke to Gerrard on Friday, when he marked his first full day as a Premier League champion with a round of golf, and dedicated the club’s 19th league championship to the Anfield legend who endured an agonising near miss in 2014.

“This is not only for us as players and for the fans,” Henderson said. “It is also for players like Stevie and Kenny [Dalglish] who mean so much to this club. I know how much it means to Stevie to win the Premier League.

“I was devastated in 2014 that we couldn’t get over the line for him but I know he is so happy and so proud of this team to be able to bring the Premier League trophy to Liverpool. This one is quite personal for me and to do it for him is quite big.”

Liverpool face the team they deposed as the Premier League champions on Thursday when travelling to Manchester City. Henderson knows Pep Guardiola’s side will be determined to regain the title next season but believes they will not be the only threat.

“United look strong, Chelsea have signed a few players recently and I am sure they will come again,” he said. “They have young players coming through and Frank Lampard has done a really good job. City are an unbelievable team and you will have other teams knocking on the door and improving all the time.

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“That is why you have to keep wanting more and keep going. So far we have done that really well after last year and winning the Champions League. It shouldn’t be any different next season.”

Liverpool will be without Joël Matip for the remainder of the campaign after the defender sustained a foot injury at Everton in the first game of the restart. Matip, who missed several months earlier in the season with a knee problem, worked tirelessly through lockdown to regain full fitness.

He confirmed his situation on Tuesday: “This season I will be not back on the pitch but for next season, I hope I’m going to be quite early a direct help for the team.”


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