Jordan Henderson deserves to be named Player of the Year for 2019-20, says John Aldridge, with the Liverpool captain having been “immense” for Premier League title hopefuls that boast a number of leaders within their ranks.
The Reds skipper has not always seen his value to domestic and international causes recognised, with questions often asked of his role at Anfield and with England.
But he has nevertheless become a key presence on Merseyside under Jurgen Klopp, while also being named the pick of the Three Lions' performers for 2019.
Critics have been silenced by the 29-year-old in some style, with Aldridge among those to have paid homage to a man who is keeping the likes of Virgil van Dijk away from the armband at Liverpool.
The former Reds striker told the Liverpool Echo: “In my eyes there is only one serious candidate for the Player of the Year gong and that is Liverpool's captain.
“The Reds have had many brilliant and consistent performers this season - we are 25 points clear at the top of the league with nine games left for heaven's sake - but Jordan Henderson has been the stand-out one as far as I'm concerned.
“When you look at some of the players who we've been missing at various stages of the season, the impact Jordan has made in the dressing room as well as on the field has been immense.
“Everyone knows it took him a while to truly find his feet at Liverpool and he's had to deal with the fact that some fans didn't rate him. He knuckled down, worked his socks off and surely has won all the doubters over now so it will be so fitting when he is the man to lift that trophy for us once we get those final two wins we need.
“When you look at the team, it would be easy to think that Virgil van Dijk is the stand-out 'skipper' and when the big Dutchman arrived two-and-a-half years ago, many people thought it would probably be only a matter of time before he got the armband.
“In any other team, Van Dijk would be the captain because he's clearly a brilliant leader as well as being a top player but the manager stuck to his guns by keeping Jordan in the role and he's been proved absolutely right.
“Jordan's rose up and raised the bar, not just for himself but for everybody in the team, and the lads around have responded to that.
“He deserves to be Liverpool captain and we are lucky to have him in the middle with Van Dijk behind because that gives the side an unbelievably strong spine, with the likes of [James] Milner and [Sadio] Mane and [Andy] Robertson and others all sharing similar qualities throughout the side.
“It's like when you're making a meal, you've got to make sure you have the right ingredients which all work together and that's where Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool's team-builders at Anfield deserve enormous credit because they have cooked up something very special at Anfield.”
Henderson got his hands on Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup crowns in 2019, with Liverpool now waiting on a green light to wrap up a first English top-flight title in 30 years.