Liverpool have had a below-par season so far but Jordan Henderson led by example as they qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League on Wednesday night.
The Reds beat Ajax 3-0 in Amsterdam to seal their passage into the last 16 of the competition but it took a moment of magic from their captain to get them into gear.
Mohamed Salah may have been the goalscorer, but Henderson produced a piece of sublime skill to set up the opening goal for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Collecting a pass on the left wing, Henderson took a touch before playing a brilliant defence-splitting pass with the outside of his right foot to play Salah in on goal.
The forward duly delivered with a deft first-time shot to open the scoring in the 42nd minute.
While Salah’s finish was lovely, Henderson’s pass quite rightly caught the eye of Rio Ferdinand.
‘Liverpool were on the ropes a little bit but this pass from Jordan Henderson was absolutely exquisite,’ the BT Sport pundit reflected. ‘It is absolutely phenomenal.’
Leading 1-0 at half-time, Liverpool came out of the interval firing and extended their lead with Darwin Nunez’s header on 49 minutes and Harvey Elliott’s emphatic finish three minutes later to complete the scoreline.
Despite a fine display, there was cause for concern for Henderson as he was forced off with 19 minutes remaining after a clash of knees with Ajax midfielder Edson Alvarez.
However, speaking post-match Klopp allayed any fears when asked if the 32-year-old was fine: ‘I think so, I was worried as well, I saw the situation because it was in front of me.
‘I think he got knee on knee, so (it was) painful. A bruise, probably, really painful. But as far as I know now nothing else.’
Liverpool host Leeds next in the Premier League on Sunday and will be hoping Henderson can supply their forward line with more passes like against Ajax.