Opinion shared: With Jordan Henderson set to leave Liverpool, who should Jürgen Klopp choose as his new captain? Two of our authors take the floor.
Having already lost two of their most experienced players in James Milner and Roberto Firmino earlier this summer, Liverpool look set to say goodbye to Jordan Henderson and Fabinho as well.
Fabinho appears to be close to a move to Saudi Arabia after Liverpool received a $51m (£40m/€46m) offer from Al-Ittihad (according to The Athletic), while Jordan Henderson appears set to join him in the Gulf state after a $15m (£12m/€14m) deal was agreed with Al-Ettifaq (according to ECHO).
Fabinho would undoubtedly be the most difficult of the midfield trio to replace, as he is the only natural senior midfielder Jürgen Klopp has in the squad. But losing multiple players at once would leave a significant gap.
Of course, with Henderson set to leave, Klopp will need to appoint a new Liverpool captain, as the former Sunderland man took over from Steven Gerrard in 2015.
Who would be a realistic option in that case? Even in the unlikely event that Henderson remains, it’s a reasonable question to ponder given that Liverpool will be sacking their previous vice-captain in Milner and are therefore looking for other leaders to step in.
Two of our Liverpool.com writers have had their say and here is what they think
“Time is right for Trent Alexander-Arnold” – Matt Addison
Let’s be clear. Ideally, Liverpool would have kept Henderson and kept him as captain, although that won’t happen now. Fabinho is different given the sum at stake, but losing two veteran Reds midfielders in one summer is a huge risk, especially in a transfer window where so much change is already underway.
Assuming Henderson does indeed leave, I think it’s time for Trent Alexander-Arnold to make the switch. He won the lot at the age of 24. He’s a local player who matters and someone who will be a mainstay of the team for much of the next decade.
I actually think Alexander-Arnold, like Gerrard, could move to another level with additional responsibilities on his shoulders. Last season he needed a change of role to get him out of his crisis and that one more thing to think about got the better of him. The captaincy is something he craves and I would tell from the outside that he is ready.
Virgil van Dijk is, certainly, the obvious choice. He captained Liverpool last season in the absence of Henderson and Milner. Mohamed Salah also deserves a shout out. But Henderson has been captain for eight years and Alexander-Arnold could do that and more.
“Virgil van Dijk for Captain” – James Martin
The time of Alexander-Arnold will come. If he chooses to stay at Liverpool for the foreseeable future, it seems inevitable that he will one day become their captain. But still only 24, there is no rush.
For now, Van Dijk appears to be the obvious candidate for a departure from Henderson. He is the captain of his national team, he is probably the loudest member of Liverpool and already plays the role of organizer on the pitch.
He also has a lot of experience wearing the armband for Liverpool. Third in line behind Henderson and Milner, he appeared as captain with increasing regularity, as the latter pairing was used somewhat more sparingly, often taking over the role mid-match after a substitution.
For now he is also a pillar of the squad, which is always a plus. But at 32 he won’t be around forever, and still leaves a clear path for Alexander-Arnold, who could take over as vice-captain in the meantime. Tempting as it is to approach the Academy’s golden boy at the earliest opportunity, Van Dijk seems like the ideal candidate.