Liverpool: Wijnaldum leaving 'will be a blow'
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Jurgen Klopp looks like he could be risking a repeat of the situation which saw Manchester City storm to the Premier League title. The German’s Liverpool side were battered by injuries over the course of the campaign, with defence particularly badly hit.
Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip were all sidelined long-term, with Klopp forced to deploy midfielders Jordan Henderson and Fabinho in central defence.
It proved to be a disastrous situation for the Reds, who at one point suffered a six-game winless run at Anfield in the league.
That run dealt a fatal blow to the ambitions of lifting a second successive Premier League, with City storming to a third title in four years.
One of the main reasons that Liverpool were caught so short of centre-backs was Klopp’s decision to allow Dejan Lovren to depart last summer, without signing a replacement.
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While he has addressed that position already this summer with the signing of Ibrahima Konate, Klopp appears to set to repeat that fatal error.
This time the problem would come in midfield, with Gini Wijnaldum set to leave the club on a free transfer.
Wijnaldum has been one of Klopp’s most reliable player in recent seasons, becoming a virtual ever-present in midfield.
But the Dutchman has failed to agree a new contract with the Reds and has reportedly received contract offers from Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain.
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While he will leave a massive hole in the Liverpool squad, the PA News Agency report that Klopp is not currently considering signing a replacement.
Instead, he will turn the club’s focus to tying down the likes of Mohamed Salah, Van Dijk, Fabinho, Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson to longer-term contracts.
That means that Klopp will head into next season with a midfield group of Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago Alcantara, Naby Keita, Curtis Jones, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and James Milner.
It appears that Klopp is taking a massive risk, one which threatens to produce a repeat of Liverpool’s terrible injury luck in the campaign just gone.
Keita and Oxlade-Chamberlain regularly find themselves on the treatment table, with both spending significant time on the sidelines over the past two seasons.
Thiago’s injury history is also concerning, with the Spaniard having missed 31 games over the past two seasons.
The two veteran members of the midfield group, Henderson and Milner, have also begun to pick up knocks which have seen them miss several games.
While City’s squad depth helped them storm to the Premier League in the season just gone, the continued lack of it at Liverpool could end up costing them again.
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