Jordan Henderson signs new long-term deal with Liverpool
Liverpool vice-captain Jordan Henderson has committed his long-term future to the club by signing a new five-year contract.
The 24-year-old England international has become a central part of manager Brendan Rodgers' team over the last two years and is expected to take over the armband from Steven Gerrard when he leaves for Los Angeles Galaxy in the summer.
Henderson was approaching the last 12 months of his existing deal but there was never any real doubt, as captain-elect, he would not extend his stay and Press Association Sport understands his new contract will take him through to 2020.
Midfielder Henderson said: "There has been talk about it for a while now. I'm over the moon that it's finally done.
"It's brilliant news for me to commit my future to this football club - I really feel that it's a good time for us to look forward to the future, with the squad we've got, the manager, the size of the club and the fans we've got. I really think, over the next few years, we can challenge and start winning trophies.
"That's the next phase; we've improved massively over the last few years, and I think the next phase for us is to start challenging for titles and trophies as well."
Manager Brendan Rodgers believes Henderson signing a new contract should be taken as a sign that the future is bright at Anfield after a disappointing few weeks which has seen their top-four challenge falter and their FA Cup hopes end with defeat to Aston Villa in Sunday's Wembley semi-final.
Rodgers told liverpoolfc.com: "Jordan is a brilliant professional and his dedication to his career and football in general makes him a role model to all young players.
"He has faced adversity in his time at Liverpool, but his improvement, growth and development is entirely down to his own hunger, commitment and willingness to learn and be better.
"The fact he has made such a long-term commitment to Liverpool is a sign of his belief in what we are looking to do here.
"He will have a crucial role to play as we look to take this side forward and look to add success to the progress we have made.
"I am very excited about our future and what this group can achieve together; today's announcement is another important positive step forward.
"The owners are committed to creating a team that can grow, improve and ultimately win together.
"We have seen some very important contract renewals this season and I'm confident, under (chief executive) Ian Ayre's stewardship, we will see further commitments made and more exciting talent secured and added to our squad."
Playmaker Philippe Coutinho and striker Daniel Sturridge both signed new contracts earlier this season and Liverpool are hoping to extend the current deals of promising youngster Jordon Ibe and experienced defender Martin Skrtel before the end of the campaign.
Negotiations with forward Raheem Sterling have been put off until the summer after the 20-year-old turned down a £100,000-a-week deal several weeks ago.
Ayre believes progress made on players' contracts is indicative of the belief within Anfield of what can be achieved in the coming seasons.
"Jordan's commitment is a great boost to us and a further sign that our key personnel are excited about the direction of the club and what can be achieved here as we continue to strengthen our squad under Brendan's guidance," he added.
"Jordan is an ambitious player and he believes, as we do, those ambitions will be fulfilled at Liverpool.
"He joins Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge as players who have signed long-term contracts with us this season. This, other renewals and further additions in the summer are all part of moving the club forward.
"Jordan's focus was always on remaining at Liverpool and he never wavered in his commitment to Liverpool throughout the process.
"With contract negotiations it is the outcome that matters and not the timing - and we had excellent dialogue with Jordan and his representative.
"We have secured an outcome that is positive for both the player and club.
"As a club we are committed to investing in the team and our manager and a crucial part of that commitment is retaining the talent we have currently have and making sure they grow, develop and achieve success with us, here at Liverpool."