This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
Georginio Wijnaldum has been given a new lease of life on international duty, and his form for the Netherlands could lead to a change in the way he is used by Liverpool.
The 28-year-old was once a goalscoring midfielder whilst playing in his native country and even scored 11 in his year at Newcastle, but since making the move to Anfield his box-to-box style has restricted his opportunities in front of goal, scoring just 13 times in 145 appearances.
For his national team it has been a complete contrast of late, and Ronald Koeman has been able to get the best out of him since he took over, with the midfielder scoring five and assisting three in his last ten games for the national side.
Moreover, each of those games were competitive fixtures, with Wijnaldum helping himself to two goals against Germany and one against France, thus proving to be one of the most important players for the Netherlands.
He has been effective for Liverpool this season but in a much different style, breaking up play for the Reds with an average of one interception per game, and keeping the midfield ticking over with 90% pass accuracy.
With Fabinho and Jordan Henderson operating in a similar fashion, Jurgen Klopp could look at Wijnaldum’s international form and grant him a license to get into attacking positions. He has shown on occasion for Liverpool that he has finishing instinct, and without his two goals against Barcelona they would never have won the Champions League.
In the recent round of fixtures the former PSV man scored the Netherlands’ fourth goal against both Germany and Estonia, and the attacking intent he displayed suggests he could be a threat for Liverpool if given the opportunity to take up positions in the opposition box.
Although he was playing against lesser opposition in comparison to those he would come across in the Premier League, Wijnaldum showed that playing in a more advanced role does not cause his involvement in the game to reduce, with an impressive 59 touches across 90 minutes as per SofaScore.
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His energy can be vital to Klopp’s style at Anfield and he is a reliable source for the Reds in winning back the ball and retaining possession, and he evidenced that side of his game against Estonia by winning the ball six times.
His 91% pass accuracy shows how effectively he uses the ball and he has improved in that area of his game since joining Liverpool, as he averaged a pass success rate of 84% in his time with the Magpies.
If he can take up similar areas for his club side then he should be able to get on the scoresheet more regularly, and if he does that he could become an even more important player for the Reds.