Wijnaldum welcomes Liverpool role change as Klopp embraces versatility

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The Dutch midfielder has been asked to fill a deeper role for the Reds this season and he is enjoying the switch having previously been more attacking

Georginio Wijnaldum believes a positional tweak at Liverpool has “gone quite well”, with the Dutchman happy to have dropped deeper in order to accommodate others.

The Netherlands international forged his reputation in a playmaking post, with it expected that he would provide creativity and a goal threat in any outings for club and country.

He has, however, been a versatile operator throughout his career, with every role apart from goalkeeper filled at some stage since moving through the youth ranks at Sparta Rotterdam and Feyenoord.

Wijnaldum is now an established senior star in midfield, but is still being asked to adjust his game in a third season at Anfield.

Jurgen Klopp is looking for the 28-year-old to be slightly less adventurous, with the likes of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Xherdan Shaqiri alongside him, and those demands are being embraced by a player who has impressed in the 2018-19 campaign to date.

Wijnaldum told Liverpool’s official website of his role on Merseyside: “When I spoke to the manager here he said to me that we don’t really play with a No. 10, that we play with two No. 8s and that I would be one of the eights.

“But I think the manager got to know me way better during the first season. You train every day, you see each other every day.

“In the No. 6 position we had Jordan Henderson and Emre Can and Kevin Stewart, so we had a few players there.

“But in my second season he said: ‘I think you can play No. 6 also and we might use you there in some games, so be prepared'.

“So, during training I was playing there sometimes and during the pre-season games in Hong Kong I played there, but in actual games I only played there twice, against Manchester City and Everton I think.

“This season I’ve played there quite a lot and it’s gone quite well. I enjoy it.”

Gini Wijnaldum Liverpool 2018-

Wijanldum is accustomed to having to fight to prove himself in certain positions, with a personal battle having been waged in his younger years to avoid being stuck out on the flanks.

He added: “People were trying to get me off thinking that I’m a midfielder, and trying to put in my head that I was a winger.

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“There were loads of managers who said: ‘You have to concentrate on being a winger because you have more potential there'.

“But I was like: ‘You can say what you want, but I’m a midfielder and I know what’s the best for me'.

“So, I just focused on midfield, and look where I am today. I was full of confidence in myself that I would reach the top or be a professional player as a midfielder.”

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