Gini Wijnaldum says the battle for starting places in Liverpool’s midfield can only be a good thing, as the Reds fight on all fronts this season.
On top of that, they have progressed from a tough Champions League group that included Paris Saint-Germain and Napoli, with a mouthwatering clash with Bayern Munich to look forward to.
One of the most pleasing aspects of the season has been the squad depth Klopp has built, particularly in the middle of the park.
The Liverpool manager now has five strong options in that area—six if you include Xherdan Shaqiri—and it has allowed him to rotate effectively.
Wijnaldum has been the Reds’ most consistent midfielder in 2018/19, but that doesn’t mean he is a guaranteed starter every week.
While some players may find that frustrating, the Dutchman has told Liverpoolfc.com that he relishes the competition for places.
“It’s always good if you have competition in one position because that means you have to perform to stay in the team.
“But I think that has to be normal at a club like Liverpool because it’s a top team, one of the biggest teams in England, so Liverpool will always sign good players and that means there will always be competition in the team.
“That makes players even better – not only because you have an ‘opponent’ in your position, but also because you play and train against good team-mates, so it makes you automatically a better player.”
The Dutch and Brazil internationals have been an impressive pairing of late, and Wijnaldum says playing alongside Fabinho is a pleasure—and that there’s more to come from each player in turn.
“I like to play with him, [like] all of the midfielders.
“And I think he can do even better – I think all of us can do even better.
“It’s always difficult if you play for another team that didn’t play the way we play, so when you come here you have to settle in. That’s not always easy and I think he did it quite well. Step by step he learned more about the way of playing.”
Keita may then adopt the left-sided role that he has impressed in recently, as Klopp retains his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation.