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Statistics show Jordan Henderson’s display against Roma was his best for Liverpool

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Photo: Getty Images.

In the build-up to the Champions League semi-final, there was one joke which was repeatedly told, “imagine the sight of Jordan Henderson lifting the Champions League trophy”. On Tuesday night, the Liverpool captain showed just why it’s a distinct possibility.

The midfielder completely dominated the experienced Italian trio of Daniele De Rossi, Kevin Strootman and Radja Nainggolan, teaming up perfectly with James Milner and Georgino Wijnaldum, who replaced the injured Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, to put their stomp on the game and dictate the tempo.

Sitting deep and playing balls over the top, Henderson showed what he can do as a playmaker with his impressive range of passing on show once again, completing as many passes in the final third as Sadio Mane.

Of his 54 passes, only 16 were backwards, compared to 22 forwards, and Henderson was consistently looking to move the ball forward and find a breakthrough against Roma’s high defensive line.

(Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

Defensively, Henderson was even more impressive. No player completed more ball recoveries than Henderson’s 12, so much so that the next best tally on his team was seven, almost half of what the captain contributed.

The location of his recoveries too showed his influence, playing in the holding midfield role and breaking up play before looking to rapidly start counter-attacks.

Restricting himself to an entirely central role, Henderson got the better of the likes of De Rossi and Strootman and put them on edge right from the off, causing them to be sloppy in possession and panic, which only got worse as the goals started flowing for the Reds.

In addition, he was successful in more tackles than any other Liverpool player as he made the midfield his own in arguably the highest profile fixture he has ever played in.

Many have questioned the credentials of the former Sunderland man, who is also in contention for the England captaincy, but performances like on Tuesday should soon convince any doubters that he is a key piece of Jurgen Klopp’s puzzle. Post-match, a number of fans and pundits aired their praise for his display.

The tie may only be at half-time but Jordan Henderson must show such leadership on the field of play again in Rome after his team lost their focus in the closing stages of their first leg clash.

Leading by example is pivotal to Henderson’s style and displays like his performance on Tuesday night at Anfield go a long way to justifying his role as captain of Liverpool.

Sam is a football journalist focusing on English football at all levels and Spanish football. He also writes for Spain's biggest daily sports newspaper, MARCA, as well as The Boot Room. Find Sam on Twitter at @samleveridge.

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English Premier League

Gianluigi Buffon would be perfect solution to Liverpool’s goalkeeping position

The veteran shot-stopper would represent a significant upgrade for the Reds.

Jake Jackman

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Gianluigi Buffon
Photo: Getty Images

Liverpool‘s season has not finished yet as they prepare for the Champions League final, but speculation is already beginning to ramp up ahead of a crucial summer.

Jurgen Klopp has done a great job at Anfield and the club have developed into a team capable of challenging for major honours.

This season, they didn’t have the consistency or the quality to compete for the Premier League title, but they have shown how good they are in Europe.

The Reds have never won a Premier League title and supporters will be desperate to put an end to that awful run over the coming years.

They already have a very good squad, but Klopp will want to add three or four quality players this summer to push them on.

During recent days, Gianluigi Buffon has announced that he will be leaving Juventus after an incredible career with the Serie A champions.

However, the goalkeeper won’t be retiring from playing and a number of top European clubs have been linked with a move for him.

(Photo by Andreas Solaro/Getty Images)

Liverpool are one of those, Italian pay-per-view sports channel Premium Sport, via the Mirror, and it could be a transfer that makes a lot of sense for the club.

Loris Karius has impressed since coming back into the team, but he isn’t a top-tier European goalkeeper and Liverpool could look to improve their options between the sticks.

As he would be available on a free transfer, Buffon has immediate appeal.

His experience would be invaluable to have around the training ground. This is a young squad and the Italian international would provide a winning mentality that would be a positive influence.

Buffon has received some criticism for his performances this season, with his display against Real Madrid being noticeably poor.

However, he remains one of the best goalkeepers in the world and he would improve the starting eleven at Anfield.

He is approaching the end of his career, but he could do a fine job for one or two seasons and have a positive impact on the younger goalkeepers at the club.

It would be a little harsh on Karius, but he would have to look at the positives if Buffon does sign as he can benefit from working with the experienced shot-stopper.

(Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)

Over the course of this season, it has become clear why Klopp chose to sign his compatriot last summer as he has been reliable in goal.

That said, he hasn’t stood out as one of the best in the league and if the Reds are to challenge for the league title, they will need a better option.

The summer ahead is an opportunity to push on from a good season for Liverpool, regardless of what happens in the Champions League final.

If they do manage to lift the trophy, they will become a very attractive proposition for top European players and it would be a statement of intent to bring two or three into the club.

Under Klopp, they want to be seen as a force to be reckoned with. Their goalkeeping position is a weakness and Buffon would be a fine addition on a free transfer.

It would send a statement and show that the Reds are now a top team once again.

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Liverpool

Brendan Rodgers’ mistake with Suso could cost Liverpool £34m to rectify

The Spaniard left Liverpool in 2015 after failing to have first-team assurances at Anfield.

Mathew Coull

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It is being reported this summer that Liverpool are keen on bringing Spanish attacker Suso to the club from AC Milan. Of course, it would be a return to the club for the 24-year-old.

The 24-year-old winger first joined Liverpool in 2014 from his boyhood club Cadiz. It was something of an under-the-radar signing but which soon had Liverpool fans very excited.

Suso put in a string of fantastic performances with the club’s youth-team and Liverpool fans felt they had a special talent on their hands at Melwood.

However, Suso found himself hitting a glass ceiling at Liverpool. The signing of players like Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho left the Spaniard struggling for football. After a loan spell in his homeland with Almeria in 2013-14, the attacker had clearly decided his future was no longer with Liverpool.

(Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)

He decided to let his contract expire on Merseyside and in January 2015 AC Milan paid a compensation fee to end that deal early and bring him to Italy.

Suso has since gone on to establish himself as a star in Italian football. After initial struggles, which saw him loaned out to Genoa in 2016, he has now begun to fulfil his potential at the San Siro.

The past two seasons he has been a regular and the club’s best assist maker. Such good form even saw him make his debut for the senior Spanish national team last year.

Now it is being reported Liverpool are one of the teams interested in activating his release clause. As reported by Calciomercato this month, the Spaniard has a €40 million (£35 million) release clause in his contract at the San Siro. Considering the compensation paid to Liverpool in 2015 was reported by the Daily Mail to be just £1 million, Liverpool will not be taking the re-signing of Suso lightly. It would be at the cost of £34 million, considering they had the Spaniard in their clutches just three years ago.

Fans at Anfield rarely see their club having to rebuy a player. It is certainly more of a ‘Chelsea thing’ to do, with Nemanja Matic and David Luiz both returning to the club at a cost in recent times.

(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

At the time of Suso’s departure, Liverpool fans were not impressed that the club had allowed the situation to spiral out of their control. The finger was pointed swiftly at Brendan Rodgers for not giving the Spaniard, who was highly-rated among the fanbase, a chance. He clearly did not offer him the vision of a first-team future at Anfield.

But if Liverpool’s current boss Jurgen Klopp believes Suso has developed into a player that can truly give the Reds another edge, then they simply must bite the bullet. Just look at how one former Premier League ‘flop’ has performed since returning to England via Anfield? Another Mohamed Salah would be a very welcome moment for Liverpool fans.

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Crystal Palace

Wilfried Zaha would be an underwhelming signing for Liverpool

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Photo: Getty Images.

Liverpool have become the latest top six club to be linked with Crystal Palace ace Wilfried Zaha as the Liverpool Echo included the Reds as one of many sides believed to be chasing the Ivory Coast winger.

However, if the club do make a move for the 25-year-old, it would show a lack of ambition after what many have perceived to be a season of progress as Liverpool have reached the Champions League final whilst retaining their top four spot.

On paper, a wideman with strength and pace who scores goals would be ready-made for Jurgen Klopp’s attacking set-up and could provide a much needed rotation option alongside the likes of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane up-front.

Despite that, it would be a huge gamble to invest in Zaha. One reason for that is that he has showed his best form at Selhurst Park in the second half of 2017/18 as Roy Hodgson gave the winger a free role in attack, allowing him freedom to switch between flanks and centrally in a number ten role.

(during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool at Selhurst Park on March 31, 2018 in London, England.

At Anfield, Zaha would not possess such an option, and if he tried to maintain many of the key traits of his game of cutting inside and drifting around near the opposition box, he would be standing on the toes of established regulars like Salah and Firmino.

Then there is the concern over Zaha’s ability to adapt. His previous spell at Manchester United hinted at the fact that he has struggled with the associated pressure of being at a big club like Liverpool or their north-western rivals, which will be a concern for any club paying the astronomical transfer fee that Crystal Palace would demand for his services.

The winger has undoubted potential, but as Champions League finalists and with money to spend, Liverpool can afford to go after established stars rather than taking expensive gambles on unproven men who have a history of inconsistency.

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