No room for sentiment as Reds plan ahead: Richard Buxton
Talks over a new contract for Henderson have stalled, following Wijnaldum's exit
No club evokes nostalgia quite like Liverpool.
Immortality beckons for any player that wears their famous red shirt with distinction, while their title triumphs pass into legend from one generation to the next.
Sentiment, however, seemingly has no place in owners Fenway Sports Group's (FSG) business model amid reports that Jordan Henderson's long-term future is now at an impasse.
The Reds captain has entered the final two years of his remaining deal, yet a renewal beyond that does not appear to be forthcoming, despite Juergen Klopp's best hopes.
Exactly 12 months ago this week, Henderson provided the enduring image of the club's long-awaited bid to claim the English Premier League title, hoisting the trophy.
Throughout his decade of service, the 31-year-old has embodied the modern Liverpool.
He successfully shifted the perception of a midfield misfit deemed unfit to lace Steven Gerrard's boots, let alone inherit his captain's armband, to become a genuine talisman.
But Anfield's American overlords are again demonstrating their ruthless side in their reluctance to meet the expectations of a player who will be 33 when his existing contract expires.
A clash of managerial and hierarchical ideologies is hardly a new phenomenon in the red half of Merseyside, especially where FSG's 11-year premiership is concerned.
Under Brendan Rodgers, transfer decisions were taken by committee with trade-offs which led to Roberto Firmino's signing one week and Christian Benteke's a few weeks later.
Similarly, conflicting plans now see several of Henderson's fellow elder statesmen primed for fresh extensions, despite them either fast approaching or exceeding the age of 30.
Virgil van Dijk (30) and Mohamed Salah (29) are set to be rewarded with improved terms, while facing advancing seniority and contracts that run until the same summer as their captain.
After the Dutchman suffered a season-ending injury in last October's derby with Everton, it was Henderson who helped cushion the blow by operating as an auxiliary centre-back.
WIJNALDUM TO PSG
Metrics clearly supersede those recent memories for FSG, having already allowed van Dijk's compatriot Georginio Wijnaldum to leave on a free transfer earlier this summer.
A queue of elite-level suitors steadily formed as the 30-year-old's contract ran down before Paris Saint-Germain beat Barcelona in the race for his signature last month.
Les Parisiens are watching events at Anfield with interest, in hopes that Henderson could reunite with his former midfield colleague in the French capital sooner rather than later.
In the past year alone, Klopp has been forced to part company with two players he had a close relationship with, as Wijnaldum and Adam Lallana both departed as free agents.
Losing a third in Henderson would erode the German's attempts to ride the emotional roller coaster with Liverpool's tightly knit squad for as long as it remains physically possible.
Yet his superiors' fixation with a high turnover on ageing players has merits and is backed up by compelling evidence of an abject EPL title defence in the previous campaign.
Unprecedented injuries and the effect of playing during a pandemic exposed Liverpool's limitations, following 5½ years of Klopp's demanding "gegenpressing" style.
Rarely have FSG been on the right side of history in their time as Liverpool's custodians; their duplicitous role in the failed European Super League plot is the most recent example of that.
But this could be one time when the Boston bean counters finally have their finger on the pulse.
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