Jurgen Klopp has held extra training sessions with Georginio Wijnaldum to prepare him for the number ‘6’ role for the end of the season.
This comes after the news Emre Can would be out for the rest of the season after suffering a back injury against Watford back in March.
With Jordan Henderson suspended for the second leg victory over Manchester City in the Champions League, Wijnaldum was thrown into the deep end in his second start in the number ‘6’ role.
Wijnaldum to his credit did not complain about his new position and was open to the idea of playing as a number ‘6’. Jurgen Klopp tried Wijnaldum in the number ‘6’ role in pre-season and knew that the midfielder may be called upon to play that position during the season.
His first task in his new role came in the Merseyside derby. It was viewed as his precursor to the much more difficult fixture that lied in wait on Tuesday night. Wijnaldum did well as the number ‘6’ against Everton. He found himself with a lot of time on the ball and was allowed a lot of space from the opposition.
Against Manchester City last night, his performance and the teams was a tale of two half’s. In the first half, Wijnaldum had no time on the ball and his job was to sit back and try and break up play. He did not receive much help from his midfield compatriots in James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. After City’s early goal it looked like being a long and frustrating night for the Reds and Wijnaldum.
However, the second half brought a change in the Reds fortunes and they were much improved. Wijnaldum came more into the game and did quite well in the second half. Wijnaldum had 40 touches last night and had the highest pass percentage among his teammates with 82.1%.
Based on these two performances, the Reds have an extra option in the number ‘6’ role for the rest of this season, and perhaps next season too.
He possesses the necessary attributes to improve in that position. By playing more and getting used to his new role he will further develop into a much more all-rounded midfielder who is capable of playing 2-3 positions in midfield.