Liverpool will welcome Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum back to pre-season on Friday as preparation for the new season continues.
The Reds confirmed via their social platforms that they will welcome four players back from their summer holidays on Friday, with Henderson, Trent, Virgil and Gini all set to arrive at Melwood for their fitness tests.
While this season is important for the whole squad, it holds more importance for Wijnaldum than most as he will need to work extra hard to start regularly alongside Fabinho and Henderson in Jurgen Klopp’s midfield.
The Dutchman proved that he is a top player during the Reds’ Champions League run last season and he even scored a brace to help his side bounce back from a 3-0 first-leg defeat to Barcelona and Liverpool went on to win the tournament.
That said, however, with Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain set to be involved more as they aim injury-free 2019/20 campaigns, Wijnaldum will be pushed hard to retain his place in the starting XI.
Keita often usurped Gini in the starting XI when he was fit last season and the Dutchman will be worried that will happen more often if his Guinean teammate manages to avoid the niggling injuries that have plagued him over the last year.
The former Newcastle midfielder does offer a lot more balance than Keita and Chamberlain do, with Wijnaldum’s talents suited to playing a more conservative role but that might be his undoing if Klopp decides he needs the explosive playmaking abilities more than he needs Wijnaldum’s game management attributes.
Whatever happens, Liverpool will be blessed with more than enough options in the centre of the park as the number of central midfielders available to Klopp far exceeds the number of available slots in the starting XI each week.