Jordan Henderson's transformation into a tenacious presence in the Liverpool midfield has been a cornerstone of the team's season – and the man himself believes it is all down to Brendan Rodgers.

With two settling campaigns behind him, the No.14 has evolved into a player capable of dictating the rhythm of a Barclays Premier League fixture, of which he has started all 28 for the Reds so far.

An increase in goals and fine-tuning of distribution have been added to his industrious running, energetic pressing and natural athleticism to produce a consistent and impressive package.

Well known to be among the hardest workers in training, Henderson nevertheless diverts a large portion of the credit for his 2013-14 campaign to the diligence and advice of manager Rodgers.

He told the Liverpool Echo: "I've been working hard every day to try to improve. Certainly, playing and training with world-class players on a daily basis has helped me a lot.

"But I'm also very grateful for everything Brendan has done for me. He has helped me improve a lot tactically. That has been an area of my game that has come on a lot.

"The manager is very good in all areas. Tactically, he can see the game and how it's going to pan out. He knows what decisions he needs to make at certain times.

"If you look at Liverpool now and how well we're playing compared to when he first came in, the transformation is there for everyone to see. He's a top-class manager.

"He's already shown he's one of the best managers in the world. For me personally, Brendan has been fantastic. He's still very young and will have a long and successful career ahead of him."


The next obstacle in the Reds' challenge for Champions League qualification is a journey to Manchester United and Old Trafford, where three points have eluded Liverpool since 2009.

Having preceded a lengthy break from competitive action with a handsome 3-0 victory at Southampton on March 1, Henderson insists his team can travel with confidence on Sunday.

The 23-year-old continued: "We've got a few hard sessions under our belt and everyone is looking forward to getting back into the swing of things. We have got 10 cup finals if you like.

"They are all big games from here on in and that starts at Old Trafford on Sunday. I really don't tend to look at stats much when we're going into games. What's happened at Old Trafford in the past won't influence what happens on Sunday.

"The fact that people are talking about us as title contenders shows how far we've come. We have shown over this season how we're getting better all the time.

"I haven't been surprised by how this season has gone because I see the quality we've got in the squad on a daily basis. We have shown how good we can be but there is still a long way to go and a lot of points to play for.

"If we can keep performing at the level we have been then you never know what we can achieve. We're going into the game with confidence and there is no reason why we can't go there and get the result we want."

Rodgers' side enter the weekend encounter with an 11-point cushion over their rivals, who were crowned Premier League champions at the conclusion of 2012-13.

Henderson is aware of the necessity for complete concentration, however, and called for the Reds to create a platform which allows Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez to inflict the required damage.

"There has been a bit of a change in terms of the positions of the two clubs but it's still a big game," the Englishman added. "They will want to win the game for themselves but also to stop our momentum.

"We need to rise to the challenge and put on a good performance. When you have the firepower we have got then it gives everyone in the team a lot of confidence that we're going to score goals.

"We have to make sure we defend properly as a team. If we do that, then going forward, Luis and Daniel will do their stuff."