Jordan Henderson’s departure leaves void in Liverpool midfield: Potential Replacements

Dwij Mukherjee
By Dwij Mukherjee
7 Min Read

Club captain Jordan Henderson leaves Anfield following an agreement between Al Ettifaq and Liverpool for a deal financing up to $12 million. Henderson joins the long list of players who will make the journey to Saudi Arabia that includes his former teammates Fabinho and Roberto Firmino although they will be signing for different clubs.

During a 12-year tenure, Henderson racked up 492 appearances, scoring 33 and assisting 61 goals, winning every possible trophy available. Henderson is not known for his brilliant footballing abilities but rather for his presence and leadership qualities. Liverpool have to replace Henderson as they have retained only two midfielders from last season, Thiago and Curtis Jones – although with the former linked with a move away as well.


Cheick Doucoure – Probability >70%

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As soon as the Henderson deal looked approaching its conclusion, Doucoure’s name popped up as the potential replacement.

Crystal Palace’s Player of the Season made 35 appearances all season and can occupy central as well as defensive midfield positions. His profile matches a lot with the departing captain, with a bit more defensive cover. He is very good at playing short passes and taking shots from a distance. Among midfielders playing in Europe’s top 5 leagues, his pass interception falls in the 97th percentile.

Crystal Palace have asked around £70million for the Malian midfielder, a huge asking price. With Romeo Lavia still in contention and for much cheaper as potential incoming, it remains to be seen whether Liverpool makes a move for Doucoure or not.

Marco Verratti – Probability = 50 %

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One of PSG’s long-term serving players, Verratti is near the end of his contract and has said many times this season that he would be open to a new challenge.

At 30 years old, Verratti’s experience in midfield is exactly what Liverpool could need. A player whose passing, dribbling and through balls are top-notch, also the Italian attracts a lot of fouls and with Liverpool having players like Trent Alexander Arnold and Dominik Szobozslai they can make great use of the dead ball situations.

The asking price might be around Liverpool’s liking but it is unlikely that the Italian would go for a wage lower than 200k per week. The Italian holds Liverpool in high regard and might make the move if Liverpool makes the bid.

Joao Palhinha – Probability >50%

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Another premier league player who can be a good replacement is Joao Palhinha. The Portuguese was regarded as one of the signings of the season in the premier league last season and played a very major role in Fulham finishing in the top half of the table.

Much more defensive and aggressive than the two options mentioned prior, Palhinha is excellent when it comes to aerial duels and tackling. He is also a huge threat during indirect free kicks.

Currently valued at 60 million, it looks unlikely that Fulham would lower the asking price. Palhinha also thrives well in a system that utilizes the double pivot role, with Klopp looking to change his tactics, Palhinha could be vital if Liverpool decides to pull the trigger.

A few more players are there that Liverpool could potentially go for if they want a big-money move this summer.

Nicolo Barella – Probability <35 %

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Barella is someone Liverpool has been interested for a while now. Playing primarily as a box-to-box midfielder and only 26, the Italian can be a long-term player for the club.

With his progressive carries, progressive passes, Assists and xAG all above the 90 percentile among midfielders playing in Europe’s top 5 leagues. Currently valued at around 80 million, Inter considers the midfield maestro as unsellable but might bulge if a lucrative offer comes their way.

Sofyan Amrabat – Probability <20 %

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The Fiorentina Midfielder has been heavily linked with a move away from the Serie A club after his brilliant performances in the Qatar World Cup. He played a key role in the Florence-based club having the second-highest average possession in the Seria A.

The Moroccan is frequently involved in Fiorentina’s possession circulation and has a very high overall progressive passing distance. He understands how to control the tempo of a game while also being able to break the lines. Amrabat makes this possession-centric system work, ranking in the 94th percentile for touches in the middle third of Europe’s top five leagues. The Moroccan is also skilled at medium and long-distance passing. This allows him to vary his ball movement style. He is very much adept at lying deep and spraying passes all over the field, all his passing completion is among the 95 percentile in Europe’s top 5 leagues.

He is very good defensively as he has over 70% of successful take-on. An excellent crosser of the ball and probably the best option to replace either Henderson or Fabinho, a move is very much unlikely as the player only at 26 and would love to play his prime in La Liga.


According to reports, Joshua Kimmich is no longer considered untouchable by Bayern but any offer for less than $100 million wont be entertained. With Romeo Lavia and Khephren Thuram very much expected to join Liverpool, The Reds would need at least need 2 more midfielders to balance their books of outgoing midfielders. The Kopites expect their club to secure one more big money move this summer but it remains to be seen which player makes the switch to Anfield.

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