This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Liverpool have maintained the consistency they showed last season with three consecutive Premier League wins and much of that is due to their dominant midfield, which has improved considerably over the last 18 months.
With players such as Alisson and Virgil Van Dijk in defence and a notorious front three supplying the goals, it is Liverpool’s midfield which has often been seen as a weak link.
Despite that, the likes of Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, and Georginio Wijnaldum have all made solid starts to the season, featuring in all three Premier League fixtures thus far and producing a minimum pass accuracy of 81.8%.
Naturally, Liverpool’s front three receive many of the plaudits for their work going forward, but without the energy and combative nature of Wijnaldum in midfield the Reds would struggle to dominate the middle of the pitch as much as they do.
His reactions and turn of pace make him a key figure in the transition from defence to attack for Liverpool, enabling him to get from box-to-box with impressive speed. This clip from his display against Arsenal proved how much of a menace he can be winning the ball back before distributing wisely.
Wijnaldum has gone about his work in a more quiet fashion at times, but his presence on the pitch is becoming more significant.
According to Wyscout, in his three league games for far he has won 15 duels per game, and his battling spirit is matched by his ability on the ball, with an average of 2.4 successful dribbles per match and 12 forward passes per game – which highlights how he supports the Liverpool attack.
Those passing and tackling stats are better than what his midfield teammates have produced so far and make the 28-year-old integral to Klopp’s system, causing turnovers in possession and then helping get the ball to Liverpool’s match-winners.