Many Liverpool fans believe the club is going to regret the Gini Wijnaldum situation. They see history repeating itself.
Liverpool eventually struggled to a 2-2 draw with Brighton on Saturday afternoon. They took a 2-0 lead but their performance petered out badly in the second half.
A first-half goal from Brighton gave the Seagulls confidence and they brought that with them into the second half. The way they attack Liverpool brought pretty consistent success and their equalising goal felt fairly inevitable.
Liverpool just couldn’t see the game out or take control back when things turned. For many, that’s a sign that the midfield faltered.
Jordan Henderson started this one in the holding role, with Curtis Jones and Naby Keita on either side. Now, that’s a very attacking midfield but things went further as Keita went off injured.
On came Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in his place, creating as attacking a midfield as Liverpool can really put out. Oxlade-Chamberlain did create the second goal with a brilliant assist but on the whole, the team didn’t have the midfield control necessary.
That’s particularly notable given who Liverpool lost this summer – Gini Wijnaldum. Helping to control midfield is the Dutchman’s greatest strength and one the Reds could have used against Brighton.
The club didn’t replace Wijnaldum, either. The opportunity was there to sign a similar controlling midfielder but instead, Liverpool stuck with what they have.
And some Liverpool fans see that as similar – or even worse – than the decision not to replace Dejan Lovren last season.
Fans on Gini
Solution, not even buying a competent midfielder at all, just leaving it like the lovren situation to eventually make our title challenge go up in flames— Josh (@loudducksworth) October 30, 2021
Last year klopp and the board did not replace Lovren and look what happened, this year failed to replace Gini. When will they learn.— Milesy (@CarlFranky85) October 30, 2021
The decision not to replace Lovren last season proved disastrous. Every senior centre-back went down with a long-term injury, forcing Liverpool to sign in January.
We can’t see a similar situation this season and while there have been injuries, it’s nothing like last season. Liverpool still have plenty of midfield options and options that work, as we’ve seen in recent weeks.
But Liverpool unquestionably took a risk by not signing a more defensive, controlling midfielder. The options they have are good enough to win most games but there will be times where they need that Wijnaldum-type.
Brighton was one of those – they were prepared to press and attack Liverpool and did it well. The club needs to decide how much that kind of player is worth to them, then.
A £60m signing probably isn’t necessary, no. But an extra option in there to provide something different for games like this would provide more points in the title race.