Liverpool’s summer signing Georginio Wijnaldum recently revealed that he almost joined Tottenham instead of the move to Anfield. Regarded as one of the top-rated Dutch midfielders, there was a lot of clamour for Wijnaldum’s signature even though the midfielder has developed a reputation for being inconsistent. Liverpool paid a whopping £25 million in order to sign the player ahead of Spurs. Wijnaldum, though, revealed that one of the reasons for choosing Liverpool was the calm and relaxed nature of Jurgen Klopp.
Judging by his performances in the first three games of Liverpool’s league campaign, Klopp will have to summon his tactical superiority in order to find a new role for Wijnaldum. The player’s debut in the 4-3 win over Arsenal may have been overshadowed by the Sadio Mane’s impressive show, but it was not anything to shout about. Wijnaldum was quite mediocre in the shock defeat against Burnley and his worst performance in a Liverpool shirt came just before the international break against Spurs.
Capable of playing as an attacking midfielder or on the wings, Wijnaldum has been utilised in a central position by Klopp. Adam Lallana and Wijnaldum share the chance creation duties, but they are yet to strike a chord. Wijnaldum has created only six chances – at an average of two per game – in his three matches. The midfielder has been unable to make a telling contribution in attack, although it has grown progressively in these three games. In contrast, his defensive contribution has gone downhill and this raises red flags for the team.
The central midfield of Liverpool does not have much physicality. At 5 ft 9 in, Wijnaldum is not the best bet to compete against the likes of Matic or Pogba. It is evident from the fact that he has managed to win only 53% of the aerial duels. As a central midfielder with an attacking bias, a pass accuracy of 85% is a good figure over three games. However, Klopp would want Wijnaldum to improve on his shooting skills and the ability to make key passes. The 25-year-old has a short accuracy ratio of just 33%. In the modern Premier League, goals from midfielders are as important as it gets.
At present, he is lagging behind Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana in terms of impact. Wijnaldum is new to life at Anfield, but he has to get the grips if he tends to cement his regular spot.