Henderson: Liverpool still exciting, just more mature

The Reds skipper refuses to buy into the belief that Jurgen Klopp’s side have adopted a more defensive mindset during an unbeaten Premier League run

Jordan Henderson claims Liverpool are “still an exciting side to watch” and have merely become “more mature”, rather than less attacking.

The Reds earned plenty of admirers during the 2017-18 campaign with an entertaining brand of football which saw Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane thrive.

While they were always a force to be reckoned with going forwards, it was not until the January arrival of Virgil van Dijk that they looked more assured at the back.

The big-money summer signing of Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson has further strengthened the defensive unit and led to talk of Jurgen Klopp becoming more conservative.

Liverpool skipper Henderson refutes those claims, telling the club’s website: “We play the way that we play – I don’t think it has changed too much.

“We have controlled [matches] and maybe become more mature as a team in certain instances in games, where we have controlled the game a lot better, with the ball and even without the ball.

“I can definitely see that the maturity has helped us win games and keep clean sheets. But our style of play is there for everybody to see.

“We’re still an exciting team to watch, we want to be at a high intensity level. We want to score goals as well as defend well, that has never changed. The maturity in certain games has been much better this season.”

Henderson added on the improvements made at the back, with clean sheets being collected on a more regular basis: “We have defended very well – we’ve got a lot of clean sheets this season.

“To win trophies, you need to have that really, along with the attacking power and goals we’ve got.

“So far, it has been a good combination and we need to keep that going for the rest of the season if we want to do something really special. So far it has been good – hopefully it can get better, we can keep improving and keep winning games.”

Next up for Liverpool, who remain unbeaten through 16 Premier League games this season, is a crunch clash with arch-rivals Manchester United at Anfield.

The Reds have not tasted a league victory over their old adversaries in their last eight meetings, but Henderson is not overly concerned by that record heading into another meeting on Merseyside.

He said: “It’s about focusing on what’s important.

“It’s not a great record against them over the last few years but it’s a different year, different teams and different players.

“A lot has changed since the last time we played them. For us, it’s another opportunity to go out and win a football game.”

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