Georginio Wijnaldum is no stranger to positional changes and was again asked to play a slightly different role for Liverpool in Saturday’s Merseyside derby.
The Dutchman started off his career as a winger, before transitioning into a central attacking midfield position and eventually moving into a deeper all-action role.
Injuries towards the back end of 2017 even saw Wijnaldum deployed as a centre-back as part of a back three in December’s 5-1 win over Brighton.
His latest move was somewhat less dramatic, with Jurgen Klopp using the former Newcastle man as a no.6 just ahead of his back four at Goodison Park.
The decision to do so was made more intriguing given the involvement of skipper Jordan Henderson, who would usually carry out the holding job.
He told Liverpoolfc.com: “Sometimes you have those kinds of days.”
“It was a good day and everything went well but I’ve also had a few games where it didn’t work, so I just tried to enjoy it.”
“The manager told me the team needed me as a footballer and that’s what I tried to do. It was a different position [for me] but I can play there and I think it went well.”
Wijnaldum’s role was deemed an audition and perhaps a preview of his responsibility in the absence of he suspended Henderson in Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final second leg against Manchester City.
His Man of the Match display served as an early confidence boost, with the 27-year-old reverting to his roots as Liverpool’s ‘link man’ in dictating the tempo of play accordingly and producing driving runs from deep to initiate attacks.
He faces a key job at the Etihad in combatting City’s playmaking threats through the middle and ensuring the Reds make wise use of the ball against a Pep Guardiola side that threatens to dominate possession.
After a disappointing run of form, now is the time for Wijnaldum to find some rhythm.