Football

Henderson ready to take 
on more

FIFTH ROUND

CRYSTAL PALACE v LIVERPOOL

(Tomorrow, 1.25am, 
Singtel TV Ch 111)

Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson has taken on more responsibility since becoming vice-captain this season but may have to accept even more in the coming weeks.

With captain Steven Gerrard likely to be sidelined for up to three weeks with a hamstring problem and Lucas Leiva out for twice that period with a thigh injury, central midfield is starting to look a little light.

Henderson and Joe Allen are likely to start in the middle for the FA Cup fifth-round game at Crystal Palace tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

It is debatable whether Gerrard would have started against Palace anyway but, in his absence, Henderson finds himself having to up his game even more.

"To lose Lucas first was a big blow because he has been outstanding for us since he came into the team as that defensive, holding midfielder," said Henderson.

"Obviously, Stevie (Gerrard) is a big loss, even though it is not as long (as Lucas), but there are some big games coming up that he might not be involved in.

"But it is another chance for people to come in and show what they are made of and slot straight into the team. Hopefully someone can do that.

"Maybe I need to take more responsibility with those two players gone."

There is also the option of moving Emre Can forward from defence, where he has excelled in a back three.

The Germany Under-21 international was signed from Bayer Leverkusen with the intention of using him in midfield, but circumstances dictated he was needed further back and he has not put a foot wrong, so Brendan Rodgers may be reluctant to tinker with that.

"Emre has been outstanding since he came into the team," added Henderson.

"I really think that position has suited him at the right side of the three at centre half.

OUTSTANDING

"He has been outstanding there, especially defensively as a midfielder dropping back and, in driving with the ball, he shows his strength and power going forward."

While Henderson is looking at doing even more in that central area to compensate for injuries, at least he has the benefit of being comfortable in his role, having been used in his favoured position more times this season having previously been accommodated on the right and, occasionally, on the left.

"Wherever I play, I always try to improve, whether that is out wide or through the middle," he added.

"I always give 100 per cent and I know each role I play really well, so it doesn't matter what position I'm in.

"Of course, being in the middle, I am more comfortable and I am enjoying it there." - PA Sport.