The summer arrivals of Naby Keita, Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri at Anfield might well have pushed Georginio Wijnaldum down the Liverpool pecking order. However, the Dutchman has proved to be more important to Jurgen Klopp’s side than ever this season, and he has played a key role in helping the Reds climb to the top of the Premier League table.
The 28-year-old midfielder has been rotated between central and deep-lying roles this season. In either capacity, his pace, energy, tenacity and smart use of possession has allowed to him to bring balance to Liverpool’s midfield unit.
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Wijnaldum’s consistency and reliability makes him one of Klopp’s most trusted lieutenants and has ensured that the midfielder has played plenty of football this season, despite the intense competition for places that exists at Anfield.
The likes of Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk might garner greater plaudits, but Wijnaldum’s importance to the way Liverpool play should not be forgotten.
As per WhoScored’s statistics, Wijnaldum has made 22 Premier League appearances so far this season, with only two of those coming from the bench. On the ball, his record has been remarkably consistent. He has maintained a pass accuracy record of 91.9%, and has also averaged 0.6 key passes and 2.1 accurate long balls per game.
The 51-cap Netherlands international has been equally effective defensively. Throughout this league campaign, he has averaged 1.2 tackles, 0.5 interceptions and 0.7 clearances per match. Equally, his record of only being dispossessed on 1.2 occasions per match indicates how reliable he is on the ball.
Liverpool’s current success is due to the important, tireless work done by the likes of Wijnaldum, as much as it is down to the exploits of Salah and co.