On Sunday it emerged that inspirational midfielder Steven Gerrard had been named the England player of the year for 2012 and his Liverpool teammate Jordan Henderson had scooped the Under-21 player of the year award, as voted for by supporters.
The news may have come as a shock to some neutral fans, but while these prizes were handed out for the way the duo have performed on the international stage over the past year, one only has to look at their recent performances in a Liverpool shirt to realise that both Gerrard and Henderson are hugely talented players.
Gerrard’s form under Brendan Rodgers has been nothing short of superb. The Reds’ star player has been on the pitch for every single minute of every single Premier League game for this term, which is particularly surprising given that he was dogged by injury problems that restricted him to just 12 starts in the top-flight last season.
For many, that was a sign of Gerrard’s decline, but the midfielder is proving his doubters wrong. Not only has he seen so much action this season, but he has also contributed significantly for Liverpool. Six goals and nine assists in 25 games suggest that Gerrard has had many more good games than bad ones.
Henderson, too, has been in fine form and this can be illustrated by the faith Rodgers has recently shown in the England youngster. Last season, the former Sunderland player appeared in all but one of Liverpool’s Premier League games, but he has found his time on the pitch limited this time around with the return of Lucas Leiva to full fitness and the arrival of Joe Allen.
However, Henderson has been selected in the starting line-up in the last three games for Liverpool and has rewarded Rodgers with some excellent displays and two impressive goals. Based on these recent performances, it is difficult to see how Allen, who is struggling for form and confidence, will oust Henderson from the team.
Both Henderson and Gerrard starred at the Etihad Stadium, as Liverpool collected a point against the Premier League champions. The visitors had more corners, more shots and more possession than their opponents and some would suggest that such a performance merited more than a point.
The Reds would perhaps have gained their full rewards had goalkeeper Pepe Reina refrained from leaving his area to chase down Sergio Aguero, who scored a phenomenal equaliser with just a quarter of an hour remaining.
While Liverpool have taken just two points from their last two league games, their performances have arguably deserved more. Despite this, the Merseysiders are enjoying a more fruitful second half of the season, as Rodgers always insisted they would. It took the Reds 10 games to collect their first 11 points at the start of this campaign, but since the midway point of the season, Liverpool have picked up 11 points in just six games. Rodgers’ men seem to be improving. Now the former Swansea boss needs to work out how to turn those draws into wins.
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