Klopp has two options to fill Wijnaldum cavity – £52m star that rejected Barca & Bayern for Liverpool seems best

Paul Joyce reports Jurgen Klopp would prefer to find ‘solutions’ to reclaiming the Premier League title bid from ‘within’.

Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are reported as Jurgen Klopp and Pep Lijnders’ options to solving their Georginio Wijnaldum dilemma as the Reds are still yet to replace him 42 days after his contract expired.

I’m torn between disbelief and outrage. If the coaches are being made to go into the new season with the existing squad against their wishes it’s another reason why FSG are inadequate owners.

MADRID, SPAIN - JUNE 01: John W. Henry, owner of Liverpool applauds fans after the UEFA Champions League Final between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on June 01, 2019 in Madrid, Spain.
MADRID, SPAIN – JUNE 01: John W. Henry, owner of Liverpool applauds fans after the UEFA Champions League Final between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on June 01, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Harold Cunningham – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

If it’s simply Klopp believing that he can get 50 games out of Keita and Ox combined then you could argue negligence on the manager’s part but we’ll save judgement on his part until the window slams shut.

Wijnaldum, arguably Liverpool’s fittest player until his five-year contract expired, can no longer be relied on and for all his perceived flaws, he was an incredible performer.

But it’s very risky to gamble Liverpool’s success on the fitness of two midfielders that have historically been unable to remain fit since signing for the club.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of Liverpool during the pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and CA Osasuna at Anfield on August 9, 2021 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of Liverpool during the pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and CA Osasuna at Anfield on August 9, 2021 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

If I would have to gamble on one of them, it would be Keita and not just because he’s been fit since February but also because he’s simply the better player.

Don’t get me wrong, Ox has been really good during pre-season and I’m actually struggling to single out a player that has been below-par this summer.

But Keita, who reportedly rejected Barcelona and Bayern Munich to join Liverpool for a fee worth in the region of £52million, is the ideal midfielder for Klopp’s system.

At times, he becomes part of Liverpool’s front three to form a quartet when the Reds are pressing high up the pitch.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 08: (THE SUN OUT,THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Naby Keita of Liverpool at Anfield on August 08, 2021 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – AUGUST 08: (THE SUN OUT,THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Naby Keita of Liverpool at Anfield on August 08, 2021 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

We saw this in action against Athletic Bilbao as he won the ball before passing to Sadio Mane who quickly played Diogo Jota in behind the La Liga defence before the Portuguese quickly converted.

Keita’s ability to steal the ball and hand it to the front three to help Liverpool quickly score a goal is why the Reds might be willing to forego signing a new central midfielder this month.

I think not adding a new no.8 is risky but Klopp is in a much better position to decide what Liverpool need so I will leave the decision making to him.

Michael Mongie
Football Central Media Group founder, owner and editor.

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