Joey Barton vs. Jordan Henderson: One is among the most combative midfielders in the Premier League, while the other is a quiet lad who’s enjoying a breakout campaign and could be the future Liverpool captain.
We’ll get a chance to see Barton and Henderson go head to head on Saturday when Liverpool hosts Queens Park Rangers on Matchday 35 of the Barclays Premier League.
Barton, 32, is renowned for his physical play, and his disciplinary problems both on and off the field—he’s been convicted twice on violence charges and has earned a reputation as one of the dirtiest players in the Premier League.
Barton is a useful player for QPR, though. He’s won plaudits for his work rate and tireless running, as well as for his under-rated passing ability. Still, he has one red card and nine yellows in 24 league appearances for the Hoops this season.
Henderson, 24, is enjoying a wonderful campaign at Liverpool, with six goals and eight assists in 33 league appearances for the Reds. Although primarily a central midfielder, the Englishman is very versatile—he can play anywhere on the right side of the pitch—presses opponents high up the pitch with his energetic style and is a set piece threat. He also has a bit of an edge, with six yellow cards this season.
With Steven Gerrard set to make the move to MLS, there’s talk that Henderson could take over as captain. That would’ve been unimaginable in 2011 when he first joined the Reds. But Henderson has shown great improvement during his time at Anfield, and has been one of Liverpool’s best and most consistent players in 2014-15.