Remembering the starting XI from Jordan Henderson's Liverpool debut

Jordan Henderson's 12-year stay as a Liverpool player is over.

When he joined back in 2011, as a promising but raw midfielder from Sunderland, it would've been hard to imagine the success he would go on to have, or the teammates he would outlast.

The club he leaves behind is unrecognisable from the one he joined, with Liverpool's longest-serving player now Joe Gomez — who joined a full four years after Henderson.

Much has changed in the last decade and beyond for the Reds and little exemplifies that better than the starting lineup from Henderson's Premier League debut back on 13 August, 2011 (a 1-1 home draw with Sunderland).

Prepare yourself for a not always pleasant trip down memory lane....

GK: Pepe Reina

Liverpool's best keeper in the Premier League era (until Alisson Becker's arrival).

The Spaniard was an undroppable name for the club long before Jordan Henderson arrived and his impressive 177 clean sheets across his Liverpool career make it clear to see why.

He was in between the sticks on the Englishman's debut, and remained at Anfield until 2013, before heading to Bayern Munich via a loan spell at Napoli.

From there, Reina has done a complete European tour, representing AC Milan, Lazio, Aston Villa and now (at the age of 40) Villarreal.

RB: Jon Flanagan

Liverpool's right-back on the day was none other than Jon Flanagan, who at the time was one of the club's youngest-ever players to be allocated a first-team squad number at just 17.

The Scouser didn't made 51 appearances for Liverpool and played fairly sizeable role in Liverpool's push for the 2013/2014 league title.

Despite breaking into Liverpool's first-team, the full-back's career was decimated by injuries and off-the-field in the years that followed.

After spells at Burnley, Bolton, Rangers, Charleroi and HB Koge, he retired in 2022 at the age of 30.

CB: Jamie Carragher (c)

Stepping in as Liverpool captain in Steven Gerrard's absence, Jamie Carragher provided one half of Liverpool's centre back partnership on Henderson's debut.

The legendary centre-half played a staggering 737 games for Liverpool over the span of his long career and won nine trophies along the way (including the iconic fifth Champions League from that faithful night in 2005).

The homegrown hero was 33 years old when he captained Liverpool that day, and he continued to play at the highest level with the club until he eventually retired in 2013.

CB: Daniel Agger

Alongside Carragher stood Daniel Agger, very much a player considered a fan favourite amongst Liverpool supporters.

One of the Dane's stand-out attributes on the pitch was willingness to give absolutely everything for the badge, and fans loved him for it.

This love was repaid when the centre-back was appointed Liverpool's vice-captain following Jamie Carragher's retirement in 2013.

However, this stint was short-lived as just one year later, Agger decided to call it a day at Anfield and returned to his previous club Brøndby, where he retired in 2016.

LB: Jose Enrique

Completing Liverpool's back four was Joes Enrique.

Joining the club from Newcastle during the same summer as Henderson, Enrique went on to make just one shy of 100 appearances for the club, winning the League Cup in 2012 in the process.

He eventually left Anfield in 2016 and joined Spanish side Real Zaragoza, but was forced to retire at just 31 due to a persistent knee injury.

RW: Jordan Henderson

Starting his Liverpool career out on the right under manager Kenny Dalglish, Liverpool's 20-year-old signing was previously rejected by Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United because of his running style.

United's loss was Liverpool's gain and, after a fairly slow start, the rest is history.

READ MORE: Jordan Henderson's top 10 moments for Liverpool

CM: Lucas Leiva

Another fan favourite Lucas made 346 appearances for Liverpool over 10-year period, and still remains vocal to this day regarding his love and support for his former club.

After leaving Liverpool in 2017, the Brazilian forged a five-year Lazio career, as well as going back to his previous team Gremio for a short stint across 2022/23.

Leiva unfortunately had to retire from football at the age of 36 due to developing a heart condition, but has since become a goodwill ambassador for Liverpool Football Club.

CM: Charlie Adam

The shortest Liverpool career of any player on this list belongs to Charlie Adam, with the 1-1 draw against Sunderland in 2011 also the Scotsman's debut.

After joining in 2011, Adam played the large majority of Liverpool's games across 2011/12, but his season was brought to end early after suffering a knee injury.

The midfielder, who had impressed at Blackpool but never really cut it at Anfield, was sold to Stoke City on the last day of the 2012 summer transfer window.

After retiring at 36, Adam currently works as loan manager at Burnley.

LW: Stewart Downing

Yet another Liverpool debutant alongside Henderson that day, Steward Downing was another signing from the summer of 2011 that didn't really work out.

Brought in from Aston Villa in order to feed the strikers with crosses, Downing only managed to provide 16 goal contributions in 91 games for the club.

Although he a member of the squad that won the 2012 League Cup, the Englishman was sold to West Ham in 2013. He later returned to Middlesbrough and spent time at Blackburn Rovers, before retiring with an impressive 722 club appearances under his belt.

ST: Luis Suarez

When Luis Suarez first joined Liverpool, fans knew he had potential, but few would have predicted just how good the Uruguayan would go onto become.

As well as missing a penalty, Suarez scored Liverpool's only goal on the day against Sunderland. He would go on to net 17 goals for the Reds that season, while the years that followed were even better

Across 2012/13, the striker racked up 43 goal contributions in 44 games in all competitions for the Reds, and then went on to have arguably the greatest individual season in Premier League history in 2013/14 – scoring 31 and assisting 19 in just 37 club appearances.

An inherently controversial figure for multiple reasons, Suarez's footballing legacy can never be questioned. After Liverpool, he continued to rack up the goals (and awards) with Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, while he is currently playing for Gremio in Brazil.

ST: Andy Carroll

When Fernando Torres left the club for bitter rivals Chelsea in the middle of the 2010/11 season, Liverpool knew they had a tough job on to replace him – which is why they thought best to spread the burden and in bring in both Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll.

While Suarez impressed and then some, the then most expensive player in British history did the polar opposite.

£35m Carroll did have his moments (albeit very few) and no one can forget that header against Everton, but ultimately for the price tag and the expectations attached to it, 11 goals in 58 games for the club was nowhere near good enough.

Upon Brendan Rodgers' arrival to the club, it was clear the striker would not fit into his plans and he was sold to West Ham. After moving from club to club and being plagued with injuries throughout, Carroll finds himself on the books at League One's Reading.


Doni, Jack Robinson, Martin Kelly, Jay Spearing, Raul Meireles, Drik Kuyt, David N'Gog

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