Jurgen Klopp has described Gini Wijnaldum’s performance against Brighton as brilliant after the Dutchman superbly stood in for Jordan Henderson once again at the base of Liverpool’s midfield.
Wijnaldum only recently revealed that Klopp had asked him to be more flexible in his positional sense, with Liverpool hoping to utilise him in a deeper role this season.
With Jordan Henderson not yet ready to return, and Fabinho not yet settling since his £40 million move from Monaco, the Dutchman has been asked to forgo some of his attacking instincts for the good of the team.
The former Newcastle midfielder misplaced just one pass on Saturday afternoon as Liverpool went top of the Premier League on goal difference, and his performance saw him get some good reviews from his manager:
“The situation was clear from the beginning,” Klopp said after Liverpool’s 1-0 win over Brighton.
“Hendo would not have a big break and Fabinho would need time to settle in, so it was always clear that Gini would be in the mix for that position. He can play both. He was brilliant in pre-season as the eight. He was good as the six but brilliant as the eight. That’s why we never had any doubts about that.
“They all have different characteristics in that role but if we don’t defend as a team neither Hendo, Fabinho or Gini can play the role very well because the space is just too big. It’s not possible. If we defend well, then it is all fine.
“Gini is a good footballer, the other two are as well. It is only important that you have this kind of mindset that you can cool yourself down in different situations, that you don’t follow the ball or offer runs in behind when we have enough players to do that.
“We need a few reasonable persons on the pitch, if you want, and Gini can switch from one mindset to the other and that is pretty good for us.”