‘Van Dijk & Alisson the only untouchables at Liverpool’ – Everyone else, including Henderson, is replaceable, says McAteer

Virgil van Dijk and Alisson are the only two players at Liverpool who are “irreplaceable”, says Jason McAteer, with Jurgen Klopp able to cover the absence of any other stars in his squad.

The Reds have not had to shuffle their pack all that often this season, with key men able to steer clear of lengthy spells on the sidelines.

Jordan Henderson is among those currently being ruled out of action, with the club captain at Anfield nursing a hamstring complaint.

The England international has led by example in 2019-20, becoming a leading contender for Player of the Year awards in the process, and is considered to be a big miss.

McAteer concedes as much, but feels Klopp has enough depth in his ranks to counter the loss of most players – with only a couple of defensive linchpins breaking the mould.

The former Reds star told the Racing Post: “There are only two players in the Liverpool team who are irreplaceable – Virgil van Dijk and Alisson.

“Take either of those two out of the starting 11 and Liverpool are instantly weaker.

“Take anyone else out, however, and it’s a different story – and even though I am a massive fan of his, that includes Jordan Henderson.

Jordan Henderson Liverpool 2019-20

“Jurgen Klopp has so much cover in all areas that he can afford to lose key men for periods.

“When he lost Fabinho earlier in the season I remember the gasps and there were plenty of people saying he’d lost the most important cog in the midfield, the heartbeat of the team. Well yes, he was a miss – but have a look at the league table.

“I never doubted that Jordan Henderson could take on the Fabinho role because he’d done it successfully before and he didn’t let anyone down.

“And since then, of course, Jordan has become an absolutely central part of the team – but not irreplaceable. At least, not in terms of his playing ability.

“Where Jordan is missed – and we saw that against West Ham – is in terms of leadership.

“I thought Liverpool were in second gear during the first half against West Ham and Jordan Henderson would not have allowed that to happen.

“Henderson doesn’t always have the best of games and people are always quick to point fingers when that happens, but that’s not appreciating his value.

“When it comes to desire and character that’s when he steps up. And while there are some big characters in that dressing room, no one is bigger than Jordan Henderson.”

Henderson is looking to work his way back to fitness in time to get his hands on the Premier League title, with unbeaten Liverpool – who travel to Watford on Saturday – now just four wins away from claiming a first top-flight crown in 30 years.