• Capital One Cup

Rodgers sets Henderson challenge

ESPN staff
September 26, 2012
Jordan Henderson has struggled to hit the heights of his first season at Anfield © Getty Images

Jordan Henderson has the perfect platform to prove what he is capable of when Liverpool face West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday, says Brendan Rodgers.

Henderson has made just one Premier League appearance for the Reds so far this season, as a substitute in the 2-1 defeat to Manchester United, and has found starting opportunities limited since Rodgers took the helm in the summer.

The 22-year-old faces a battle for a place in midfield alongside Steven Gerrard, Joe Allen, Raheem Sterling, Stewart Downing, Nuri Sahin, Jonjo Shelvey and Suso, with Lucas Leiva also to come back from injury.

But Rodgers seems set to start Henderson in the Capital One Cup clash and has thrown down the gauntlet to the young England playmaker, challenging him to show he belongs in his starting line-up on a regular basis.

"It is about the balance in the team. We have got one controlling midfielder in Joe Allen," Rodgers told the Liverpool website.

"We have got Steven Gerrard, who is a great player and speaks for himself. He has got a goal in him, he has got influence and he has got stature. He carries his qualities on the field. Then we have got Jonjo, who is a goalscoring midfielder.

"But Jordan is working his socks off every day. He has got a great appetite to learn; he lives his life right and he doesn't do stupid things off the pitch. He works hard, he works well. Really it is just games like [West Brom] that offer me the opportunity to see him.

"Can he affect the game going forward but play also with that tactical discipline, which keeps us nice and strong in the middle of midfield?"

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