Maturing Jordan Henderson stands up for Liverpool

FA Cup Fifth Round

Maturing Jordan Henderson stands up for Liverpool

Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson has taken on more responsibility since becoming vice-captain this season and is ready 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 tonight.

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.

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

Last season Liverpool won 10 of their final 12 games, losing just once, as they fell agonisingly short of winning the title.

Henderson is starting to get a similar feeling to the one he experienced 12 months ago, buoyed by the return to fitness of Daniel Sturridge and the positivity of recent performances.

“We have really knuckled down, worked hard on the training field, and grown in confidence,” he said.

“I can start sensing that sort of coming with the performances we’ve been putting in, it’s been fantastic for us as a team. You never know, we could go on another big run.”

Meanwhile Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha admits his confidence needs rebuilding after his nightmare move to Manchester United.

Zaha signed for United in January 2013 but failed to impress either David Moyes or Louis van Gaal and made just four first-team appearances for the Red Devils.

A loan move back to Palace was made permanent last month and Zaha admits he is glad to have put an end to his miserable time on the sidelines.

“Not playing at all hit my confidence but now I am playing again,” Zaha said. “There were other clubs interested but in my mind I wanted to come back to Palace.

“It is somewhere I like and it’s definitely the club I want to be at. I am back home. Everything is local to me, my family my friends. I just play football and go home with a smile on my face.”

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