Jordan Henderson will miss the next three weeks through injury and that leaves Gini Wijnaldum in a unique place. The Dutchman is the only certainty in midfield.
Jurgen Klopp confirmed Henderson’s injury on Friday. The captain will likely miss the next three weeks now, and that definitely impacts the planning.
For one thing, will he be back for the second-leg against Atletico Madrid? That’s clearly in doubt and at a time when the midfield isn’t clear-cut anyway.
Liverpool couldn’t break down Atletico this week and may need to shake things up as a result. None of the front-three would drop out, of course, while there aren’t any defensive changes that would fix the problem.
So, clearly, if Liverpool want to change up their attacking play, they’ll need to reshape or restock their midfield. And that really brings to light the importance of Wijnaldum.
Henderson would be a certainty, too, but injury keeps him out and that leaves Wijnaldum as the only fixture there.
There are doubts over Fabinho – both in his form and his style. Is he too defensive for this task? Then two other players who may come in – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita – are far from midfield fixtures. They rarely start at all.
Wijnaldum, however, is a sure thing over these next three weeks and to play against Atletico. He can play any style there is, he is in wonderful form, and he’s made the difference in big games before.
While Liverpool search for the right midfield, we certainly shouldn’t forget how vital that all is. Wijnaldum is a brilliant fixture in the lineup and that’s a real luxury.