Wijnaldum is definitely one of the unsung heroes at Liverpool
Liverpool are starting to emerge as serious title contenders this campaign. The Reds have scored 7 goals in 3 games so far and are the only team yet to concede a goal this season. Jurgen Klopp’s men have been confident and cohesive in their entertaining high-intensity football.
The German also brought in a number of additions to strengthen key areas and weak links in the squad. A few tactical tweaks have set Liverpool off on what could be a dream season. One of the standout underrated performers so far has proven to be Georginio Wijnaldum.
The Dutchman has been operating in a new No.6 role since the start of the season. With the likes of Fabinho and Naby Keita arriving in the offseason, many expected Wijnaldum to warm the bench but he has excelled so far.
The former Newcastle man was brought to Anfield after a stellar season with the Magpies. But Wijnaldum was mainly operating as a No.10 or as a left-midfielder who liked to charge into the box. He scored 11 goals that season, including 4 against Norwich City.
But when Klopp acquired the midfielder from St. James’ Park, he was already well stocked in the left-wing department, lead by Philippe Coutinho at the time. Gini was playing as more of a box-to-box midfielder for the German coach.
He was given the responsibility of offering defensive cover and link-up in the attack when needed. The 27-year-old’s bullish presence on the ball helps him hold possession in tight areas of the pitch. Wijnaldum is also a pure runner of the ball, often using his pace to push forward and support the attack.
The Dutchman has now proven that he is also a versatile option in the team. The midfielder had solid games against Brighton and Crystal Palace. With crisp passing, Wijnaldum has vastly improved his distribution in the middle of the park. The former Newcastle midfielder boasts a pass success record of 94.5% in the three games he’s played so far. (Stats Courtesy – Whoscored)
Wijnaldum rarely plays a crossfield or long-range pass. Instead, the midfielder likes to keep things simple and distribute the ball as fast as possible. His strength also allows him to outmuscle opponents in the middle of the park. Rarely giving away possession, the Dutchman is one of the neatest players in the squad.
Whether or not Klopp decides to deploy him in a similar role throughout the season remains to be seen. The Dutchman has flourished against the mid-table teams so far, using his tough-tackling defensive prowess and intelligent link-up play. Wijnaldum is slowly turning into one of the unsung heroes at the club.