Liverpool will have four more years of a successful Jurgen Klopp tactic if they replace a departing star. Reports indicate that is the case.
It looks like Gini Wijnaldum is leaving. His contract expires at the end of the season and we’re just days away from the January transfer window.
That’s important – even if Liverpool don’t sell him, Wijnaldum can agree to a contract with a non-domestic team form January 1st.
From this position, it seems difficult to believe that the Dutchman is signing a new deal with Liverpool. Reports elsewhere point in that direction, too.
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Whoever they choose – and we believe they’ll only pick one – it’s a significant decision.
We go again
Choosing to replace Wijnaldum, a star player right now, suggests Jurgen Klopp will stick with the tactic that has brought so much success over the last few years.
That’s the 4-3-3, of course, with three functional midfielders supporting a star front-three.
That ideology has a profound effect on Liverpool’s squad. A pragmatic, shifting midfield necessitates the Reds have a lot of midfielders. They have a wide array, covering virtually every circumstance.
They had Wijnaldum, Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, James Milner and Naby Keita last season. That wasn’t enough.
They promoted Curtis Jones to the first-team as another option and then bought Thiago. That is an awful lot and it means Klopp can change his style through his choice.
Liverpool play 4-3-3 every game but the midfield changes how that 4-3-3 plays.
The other side of things is that the front-three is effectively the same every game, unless someone needs a rest. Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are first-choice and everyone else just there to be rotation.
Until Diogo Jota exploded into life, of course, giving Liverpool a fourth.
Wijnaldum potentially leaving gives Liverpool a chance to change, though. They could cut the numbers in midfield and go with consistency there, potentially adding more attacking talent.
And the Reds must consider change. Virtually every key player, outside of the full-backs, is pushing 30 and only has a few years left. The next generation is coming soon.
That generation will be the final one of Klopp’s Anfield career, given his contract expires in 2024. Replacing Wijnaldum with a young midfielder, then, suggests he’s sticking with the 4-3-3 tactic until the very end.
So as Liverpool embark on a rebuild, expect plenty of one in, one out situations. The next Reds side will almost certainly follow this blueprint closely.