- Georginio Wijnaldum admits he found it difficult playing in defence for Liverpool on Saturday
- Absence of players meant Dutchman was required to fill in alongside Emre Can and Dejan Lovren
- Joel Matip injured, whilst both Ragnar Klavan and Joe Gomez were ill
- SEE MORE: Chris Hughton: why Liverpool are as good as Manchester City
Georginio Wijnaldum was the source of head-scratching and confused chuckles on Saturday as he lined up as one of three Liverpool central defenders.
Surprise towards notable plans to deploy Emre Can in defence quickly shifted to the Dutchman, who found himself in an unfamiliar position between Dejan Lovren and Andrew Robertson.
Regardless of how the game panned out, the starting eleven epitomised the importance of Jurgen Klopp bolstering his defensive options in January, not only in aid of improving but also to simply add some much-needed depth.
The bizarre selection was forced upon Klopp when illness to both Ragnar Klavan and Joe Gomez followed news of Joel Matip’s month-long spell on the sidelines with injury.
Discussing his day as a defender, Wijnaldum told Sky Sports: “The manager was running out of options and he picked me and Emre. It was really hard in the first half because I didn’t know what to do every time.”
“We were training a day before the game. [Jurgen Klopp] didn’t tell me, he just picked the team and he told me I was at the back. Normally I am a player who can play in different positions, but never in defence.”
“It was difficult, especially in the first half, because I have never played there. But the manager was running out of options with players who were sick, so Emre and I had to play there.”
“For Emre it wasn’t that different because he has played there before, but for me it was difficult because you need to know when to close spaces.”
After a nervy start to the game, Wijnaldum put in a steady performance as part of a Liverpool defence that will feel unlucky not to have earned a clean sheet.
Brighton’s only goal came from the penalty spot after Jordan Henderson was harshly ruled to have pushed Shane Duffy whilst defending a corner.
Across from Wijnaldum, Can boasted his versatility as he re-adapted comfortably to a role he featured in under Brendan Rodgers.
Dejan Lovren also looked far more assured with the support of a man either side of him, continuing his revival after his horror-show against Tottenham in October.
As impressive as Gini was, he certainly won’t be pinning his hopes on a long-term future as a centre-back.