This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Georginio Wijnaldum does not quite appear to be up to speed ahead of the 2019/20 season following his performance against Manchester City in the Community Shield on Sunday.
The Netherlands international struggled to adjust to the pace of the game at Wembley as Jurgen Klopp’s men lost on penalties after a 1-1 draw.
Wijnaldum did have one shot on goal in the 90 minutes but he was also the only player to miss a penalty in the shootout as City won 5-4 on spot-kicks.
Per WhoScored, he touched the ball 58 times in total and, while he had a pass success rate of 89%, he did not register a key pass.
Wijnaldum also won just one of his three attempted tackles and was dribbled past on two occasions.
He also failed to make an interception and was dispossessed twice while he also didn’t complete a dribble.
Liverpool began the game with a midfield of Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson and Fabinho.
The three are all talented players but the Dutchman, there, is the dynamic presence.
He is the player expected to carry the ball forward and attempt to break the lines.
Against City, he was unable to do that.
That may, of course, be down to the marking job of the Premier League champions but his inability to meet the required intensity dragged Liverpool’s game down.
Indeed, in the second half, with the introductions of Adam Lallana and Naby Keita, the Reds began to gain more of a stranglehold over possession.
That was down to the duo carrying Wijnaldum as opposed to the other way around, however, with the former Newcastle United man often nothing more than a passenger at Wembley.
The Reds do have the squad depth to cope if he struggles again in the opening game of the season, against Norwich City on Friday, but this showing should concern Klopp as he bids to once again challenge at the top of the Premier League.