Wijnaldum: How Klopp has Reds midfield thriving
Georginio Wijnaldum has offered a fascinating insight into the flexible nature of Liverpool's midfield setup under Jürgen Klopp this season.
The Dutchman has started as part of a central three alongside Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson in each of the Reds' six Premier League fixtures so far this term.
On paper, that trio perhaps appears to offer more in terms of attacking threat than defensive protection, but they have looked a balanced unit during a strong start to the campaign.
And Wijnaldum has explained just what Klopp is asking the men in the engine room to do.
"He doesn’t really give a lot of jobs to players. He tells me to be free and play how I can play. But sometimes it is different," he told Liverpoolfc.com.
"It depends on what the other players are doing. You have to look at the other players. For example, if Lallana goes forward and Henderson also goes, I have to stay.
"Sometimes I have to get used to it because, normally, I’m the one who goes all the time. Now, I have to also look at the other players.
"That’s the thing that has changed the most in my way of football – that I have to look more at the other players."
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Getting the right mix between supporting the forwards and protecting the defence is not always easy, though, as Wijnaldum admits.
He added: "It is difficult and it still is. In the teams where I played before, I was the one who was running all the time to make a goal and I came into more positions to make goals.
"Now it’s not so often, it’s a few times in a game. But we have more players to come into that position, so more players who can score a goal.
"I think that’s better for the team, because if you only have one player who can score goals it can be a problem.
"We have more players who can come into that position and have the quality to score goals. It makes it easier for the team."
Although he has yet to notch his first goal for the club, Wijnaldum has enjoyed a quietly impressive start to his time at Anfield.
But the 25-year-old sets high standards for himself, and says that he can do even more as he adapts to life at a new club.
"I already have a good feeling but not the feeling I will have when I’ve been at the club for a few months," he insisted.
"It always takes me time but it has gone well so far, everyone is trying to help me, not only the players but also the coaches and the physios.
"Everyone here is doing their best to give me a good feeling and it gives me a good feeling. Step-by-step, I will have the best feeling.
"It must be better and I know I can be better, because I can show a lot more than I already showed. Unfortunately, sometimes it will take time.
"That’s how it is and that’s why I have confidence and faith in my qualities – it will come. It’s a nice squad with good coaches and everything is here to be a better player.
"So I look forward to that with a lot of confidence and faith and I’m happy to be here. I feel blessed that I can be here."
Gini's delight at being able to represent the Reds appears to have been further boosted by the quality of his teammates, whom he cannot speak highly enough of.
"You can see how good the players are," he enthused.
"Before this, I didn’t have a clue how good everyone is, but now that I train with them every day I can see how good everyone is – it’s a really talented group.
"And also the young players who come to the first team are talented. Everything has surprised me."