Why Gini Wijnaldum deserves to start ahead of Coutinho and Can

Liverpool train at Melwood ahead of a Premier League clash with Chelsea
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Michael Mongie explains why Georginio Wijnaldum doesn’t deserve to be benched in Emre Can’s place.

Liverpool, despite common consensus, has made a good start to the season.

If you had asked fans before the start of the season if they would have been happy with 7 points from a possible 12 after facing Arsenal, Spurs and Leicester, it’s probable that this would have been acceptable.

However, football fans are never content with any outcome. Liverpool has scored 4 goals twice already this season and yet there is a lack of appreciation amongst supporters.

This has more to do with the dull 2-0 defeat at the hands of Burnley than anything. Liverpool has difficulty with taking on sides who defend deep in their own half. This was displayed against Burnley with a lack of incision meaning that very few clear-cut chances were created.

Liverpool was without Emre Can and Philippe Coutinho for the game against Leicester. Despite the duo being absent, the Reds dispatched the champions with ease. Jürgen Klopp has a serious selection headache to contend with as he will have to replace one of his front six players in order to accommodate Coutinho and Can.

But who does he replace?

You could argue, very easily, that all of Liverpool’s attacking players are on form and deserve to keep their place in the side.

In order to accommodate Emre Can, Klopp will likely take out Wijnaldum and then move Jordan Henderson to a box-to-box role.

While I don’t dispute that this could yield positive results, I think it would be unfair to withdraw the former Newcastle man as he’s done really well in the opening four game of the season. His performances have gone under the radar due to the mercurial brilliance of Sadio Mane and the glittering displays from Roberto Firmino.

Coutinho will likely come in for Daniel Sturridge who Klopp will probably play in smaller games. Against the likes of Chelsea, a front three of Coutinho, Firmino and Mané is better served to press and close down the opposition.

Sturridge is slowly beginning to play a more intensive game as he becomes more comfortable with his body. The Englishman has suffered enough muscle injuries that it has become clear that he has been nervous to sprint fully. Against Leicester, however, this was not the case. He exposed Wes Morgan with his acceleration before flicking the ball to Mané who lifted the ball over Kasper Schmeichel.

I am very thankful that I’m not Jürgen Klopp as I couldn’t possibly make the team selections that the German has to. That being said, it’s a welcome change to have such depth in attack.

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Michael Mongie
Just like you, I am a hugely passionate Liverpool supporter. I started Rousing the Kop in January 2015 and since then it has grown tremendously and has even been nominated as 'Best New Football Blog' in the Football Blogging Awards.


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