x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Premier League preview: Henderson keen to make strides

Kenny Dalglish says he sees the young player as a 'tremendous asset' to Liverpool, and Newcastle plan to stick with unchanged team.

Jordan Henderson came on as a substitute against Manchester United last weekend.
Jordan Henderson came on as a substitute against Manchester United last weekend.

Liverpool v Norwich City

Kenny Dalglish, the Liverpool manager, has said he has not yet worked out what to do with midfielder Jordan Henderson.

The England Under 21 international was dropped to the bench for Liverpool's biggest two matches of the season so far - the trip to Everton and the visit of Manchester United - in the past two weeks.

After a less-than-comfortable start to life at Anfield following a £16 million (Dh92m) summer move from Sunderland, the youngster was taken out of the spotlight by Dalglish.

"I don't know his best position yet - but I know his best club and that's this one," said Dalglish.

"We just want him to play and enjoy playing. He's a talented footballer with a great future in front of him.

"He'll be here for a long, long time and he's going to be a tremendous asset for us. He's got patience, too."

Henderson has a chance to reclaim his starting place for the visit of Norwich City today, as Lucas Leiva serves a one-match suspension.

The 21 year old is working hard to give himself the best chance of winning back his first-team place, often staying behind after training to fine-tune areas of his game.

"I want to become a much better player, improve every day, keep working hard and learn from the players around me," Henderson told the club's website.

"I'm very appreciative of where I am today, but I still want more. There are a lot more things I want to achieve. I don't get carried away with it, but also I want to strive for more and keep that hunger going.

"I am not really fussed about where I play, I just want to play football and, wherever I'm put, I'll play - but obviously I like to play in the middle."

Aston Villa v West Bromwich Albion

Aston Villa’s James Collins is back in contention for the derby with West Bromwich Albion after foot and groin problems.

Roy Hodgson, the West Brom head coach, is hoping last season’s leading scorer, Peter Odemwingie, can kick-start his season after netting in the 2-0 win over Wolves last Sunday. Odemwingie came off the’ bench after a recent ankle problem.

Hodgson said: “It was good to see him come on and be the player we know he can be.”

Bolton Wanderers v Sunderland

Owen Coyle, the Bolton manager, could stick with the side that won 3-1 at Wigan Athletic last week.

Defender Marcos Alonso returned to training today after eight weeks out with a broken foot.

Steve Bruce, the Sunderland manager, is boosted by the return of key men Phil Bardsley and Nicklas Bendtner. Full-back Bardsley has completed his four-match ban, while loan signing Bendtner was ineligible to play against parent club Arsenal last weekend.

Newcastle United v Wigan Athletic

Alan Pardew, the Newcastle manager, should be able to pick an unchanged team from the side that drew 2-2 with Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

The club are unbeaten so far this season and he expects that run to pose its own problems against lowly Wigan.

“The crowd will be expectant. We haven’t really had that this year, so maybe our first misplaced pass will be greeted with jeers. They are the sort of psychological things we have got to overcome.”

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Swansea City

Wolves are likely to be without top scorer Steven Fletcher as the Scottish striker continues to struggle with a calf injury. Swansea are short at the back after Alan Tate broke his leg and Steven Caulker injured his knee against Arsenal.

Manager Brendan Rodgers received a boost in that area after finally completing the free transfer signing of Vangelis Moras from Bologna. The Greek defender had been awaiting clearance from the Italian Football Federation.