Every great side has at least one inspirational leader. The successful teams of yesteryear, such as Arsenal and Manchester United boasted the likes of Patrick Viera, Tony Adams and Roy Keane, players who could grab a game by the scruff of the neck and almost single-handedly orchestrate their teammates to victory.
Additionally, the modern era's most successful clubs have also had their leaders. John Terry, Nemanja Vidic and Steven Gerrard; all names you can consider to be iconic leaders, but it is the hole that the latter has left at his club following his retirement that is most strikingly evident.
Jordan Henderson is the worst captain since that fella who rammed the Titanic into an iceberg— 🌚 (@POTNOODL3FRINGE) November 18, 2017
Gerrard announced his departure from Anfield midway through the 2014/15 season with his final game coming against Crystal Palace in a 3-1 loss, but since then, the Reds have been completely devoid of any figures of leadership on the pitch.
Brendan Rodgers took the decision to appoint Jordan Henderson as the new captain of Liverpool following Gerrard's departure, having given the former Sunderland man the armband 19 times previously in Gerrard's absence, but the decision hasn't reaped the rewards the Anfield faithful would have hoped it would.
First and foremost, a good captain must be present at all times. Henderson started just 15 Premier League games in his first full season as the official captain of Liverpool, 24 starts the following campaign, and 11 so far this term. All in all, that means that Henderson has started just 50 of the Reds' last 114 games, less than half.
When the man who the rest of the side look to for inspiration isn't even there, problems will arise. Perhaps the lack of a true leader on the pitch is the cause behind the unerring frequency at which Liverpool sides of late have let commanding leads slip between their fingers; leads which most sides are able to put to bed through shrewd game management.
Admittedly, the manager must take some share of the blame, but when a Liverpool side who are 3-0 up ends up drawing the game 3-3 under two separate managers, the players will deservedly be under the spotlight.
Firstly, under Rodgers in the infamous 'Crystanbul' fixture, and most recently under Jurgen Klopp away to Sevilla, the Reds have chucked away a three goal lead, and have succumbed to opposition pressure to surrender more slender margins in the time between those two fixtures.
Just take a look around the Liverpool team. Jordan Henderson's credentials as captain are debatable, but in fairness, who else is there to don the armband more effectively?
Goalkeepers are always a safe shout for the captaincy, but in this case, Simon Mignolet is a feeble more than formidable figure of inspiration. A member of the back line is the usual occupant of the armband, but an unsettled defence in which the likes of Dejan Lovren, Ragnar Klavan, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez are constantly being rotated doesn't bode well in search of a sign of leadership; Klavan and Lovren being a far cry from the days of Jamie Carragher.
Furthermore, Emre Can, Georginio Wijnaldum, Adam Lallana and James Milner hardly scream captain material; perhaps a case could be made for the latter, but the attacking quartet of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Philippe Coutinho show scant leadership qualities, Coutinho especially given his summer transfer exploits.
All in all, the aforementioned are good footballers who can win you games, but it takes leaders to win silverware, something that the Reds simply do not possess.
Leaders are difficult to come by, and are sooner bred than bought, but if Jurgen Klopp and co want to hold on to any future leads earned by the talents of Salah, Mane, Firmino and Coutinho, they'll have to go to some lengths to find someone more admirable than Henderson to don the armband.