By Brian Bariyo Tumuramye
The Reds’ former director of football signed the midfielder in 2011 in a move which proved to be worth it. Former Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli claims signing Jordan Henderson cost him his job. Henderson joined the Reds in a £20million deal from Sunderland in 2011, but struggled for form in his debut season at Anfield.
However, the 28-year-old midfielder was appointed Liverpool captain in 2015 and has played a crucial part in two Premier League campaigns, including the most recent one where they missed out on the title by a point. Comolli, who was also responsible for signing flops Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing and Charlie Adam, was proven right about Henderson as he is set to lead his side out in a second successive Champions League final when they take on Tottenham on Saturday. While explaining the reasoning behind signing Henderson, Comolli said “It was a mix of four different factors. The first one, when we looked at his fitness data it was absolutely out of this world. That was very important; to know that he could match the intensity that physically Liverpool should play at.” He added that “Secondly, when we looked at his technical and tactical data, he was doing things at Sunderland that were as good as some of the top midfielders in the Premier League. The third aspect was live scouting. We all watched him, all came back very enthusiastic about what we saw. And the fourth aspect is the personality. We made a lot of enquiries about what type of individual he was, his behaviour, his obsession for improvement.”
Comolli also noted that “They talk about marginal gains, with Jordan every day it is ‘how can I improve, how can I gain five per cent of marginal gains?’The other aspect of his personality, when you spend a bit of time with him, you can straightaway tell about his leadership skills, his determination, his commitment. Everything you see on the pitch.” Comolli was sacked by Liverpool in April 2012, less than a year after Henderson had joined the club. He added: “I remember the day I was sacked, the owners told me, Jordan Henderson what a massive mistake it was. That was about the only thing they told me.” Liverpool have had much more success in the transfer market in recent times, signing Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Alisson and Virgil van Dijk and Henderson has been vital to Liverpool’s rise. Comolli added: “I am obviously very pleased because Jordan played a key part to what is happening at Liverpool. “The energy he brought to the team, the determination, the commitment, refusing to give up, refusing to lose. So when you put everything together, we were convinced.”