Former Liverpool legend Graeme Souness says the presence of captain Jordan Henderson gives Jurgen Klopp's side 'a far better chance' of winning trophies and believes the Reds sorely missed the England international during the second half of last season.
Henderson, 27, delivered a number of impressive displays in the heart of the Liverpool engine room but his progress was curtailed when he suffered a recurrence of the heel problem he was blighted by during the previous campaign.
The injury ended the former Sunderland starlet's season in February, and while Liverpool did manage to secure a position in the top four Souness believes the Reds suffered in his absence. The former Anfield captain and manager also commended Henderson for improving elements of his play and is certain that he is one of the first names on Klopp's teamsheet when fit.
"In the playing sense they've missed him greatly," Souness told Liverpool's official website. "You're not always bossing the game - doesn't matter what team you are, you're not always in charge of the game - and he's really good at making (opponents) go into areas and make passes they don't want to.
"As well as that, I think he's improved with his own technique - he can open the play up both short and long now, and he's a major influence. Arguably, he might have been the first on the teamsheet when he was firing on all cylinders."
Henderson may have added competition for his place in the heart of Liverpool's midfield next season. Klopp's men have been heavily linked with a move for RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita, who could cost club-record fee of £50m.
But despite the evident interest in the Guinea international Souness thinks his former club would be daft to cast Henderson aside and is convinced Liverpool's chances of silverware are substantially increased when he is in the team.
"Being the captain of a club like Liverpool is an enormous responsibility; you're forever being compared to people who have gone before you," Souness added. "He looks to be a really steady character, which will stand him in good stead when things don't go well.
"We just have to start winning trophies now and, with him back, it gives us a far better chance."