Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson caught on camera protecting Fabinho – ‘Proper leader’


Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has been hailed as a “proper leader” after protecting Fabinho as the Brazilian midfielder waited to take his crucial penalty during the Reds’ 2-0 win over Watford on Saturday afternoon. Fabinho netted his late spot-kick to seal the points after Diogo Jota’s first-half header had put Jurgen Klopp’s side in the ascendancy in the crunch Anfield clash.

Liverpool locked horns with Watford knowing that they needed a positive result against the Hornets if they were to stand any chance of maintaining their bid to wrestle the Premier League crown away from Manchester City.

And after a nervy start on Merseyside, Jota bagged another big goal to settle down an anxious Anfield crowd. But the game wasn’t truly done until Fabinho coldly dispatched his spot-kick in the 89th minute, with the visitors looking a constant menace in and back-and-forth match.

But with so much riding on one moment, Liverpool’s skipper, Henderson, was taking no chances prior to Fabinho’s big moment. With Watford still in the match, Ben Foster came out in a bid to try and get into the midfielder’s head – only to find Henderson standing in the way.

The 31-year-old’s astute touch had the desired impact – and he was failed for his awareness and leadership by fans online. One fan commented: “Great leader…. Saw something similar where the captain pretended to take the penalty and soak up the abuse and then right before he gives the ball to real taker… Class.”.

Another commented: “Henderson protecting the penalty taker again. Proper leader,” while another fan simply tweeted: “What a leader. You can’t put a price on this level of leadership. This is why he’s one of our key players.”.

Protecting penalty-takers has become a fascinating trend in recent weeks. Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta stepped up in a similar fashion for Kai Havertz before the German’s match-winning penalty in the Club World Cup final against Palmeiras. Azpilicueta took the ball and soaked up all the pressure and mind-games before stepping aside for Havertz to etch his name into Blues’ folklore once again.

Although Saturday’s win was enough to propel Liverpool back to the summit of the Premier League, their joy was short-lived as Manchester City cruised to a 2-0 win over Burnley to promptly reclaim their spot at the top.

But after overhauling a 14-point deficit, the Reds now sit just a solitary point behind the reigning champions ahead of their seismic showdown at the Etihad Stadium next Sunday.

And with both sides knowing they can open up a healthy lead at the top over the other with a positive result, all eyes will be on Manchester next weekend as the closest title race in years heats up.