Georginio Wijnaldum has opened up regarding the challenges of adapting to Jurgen Klopp’s style of play as he explained why the German manager has had such a huge impact on his Liverpool career.
Wijnaldum, 29, has been an ever-present figure for the Reds this season and has started all bar one Premier League match for the English champions-elect, who are just two victories away from winning the title.
The Dutchman has been arguably Liverpool’s most consistent midfielder since arriving from Newcastle United in 2016 for a fee of £25m [BBC Sport].
And the Champions League-winning midfielder has revealed the challenges that initially came when developing his game to match the needs of the team in his early months at Anfield.
“My development since I came to Liverpool has been good,” said Wijnaldum, whose contract expires in 16 months during an interview with UEFA.
“I have become more of an all-round player I was used to playing in a very attacking role and only in attack. Since the World Cup (in 2014) with (then Holland boss Louis) van Gaal, I have had a more controlling role in midfield and that went well. After that, I didn’t play that role again, at PSV or Newcastle.
“When I spoke with Klopp, he saw me in a more defensive role, where I needed to be an all-rounder.
“It’s not always easy as I am used to attacking, but it has helped in my development. I am a more complete player now than I was when I arrived.”
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Wijnaldum has become the man for the big occasions for Liverpool and his ability to adapt to the team’s needs have been paramount in the Holland international establishing himself as one of the top midfielders in Europe.
He is also one of the most selfless members of Klopp’s world-conquering squad and is always first to sacrifice himself for the greater good of the team.
In a squad that is littered in world-class talent, Wijnaldum has showcased time and time again he is able to mix it up with the best. It is no wonder the former PSV Eindhoven star was recently nominated for the Ballon d’Or.