Klopp's tactical tweak allowed Wijnaldum to shine vs Bournemouth
Andrew Beasley reflects on a 3-0 win over the Cherries and Gini's role in it. He claims the midfielder played in a more advanced role than the Dutchman usually plays, which allowed the No.5 to take his game to a new level.
"Liverpool picked up three valuable points on Saturday, as they won 3-0 against Bournemouth. It was a pleasure for me to be at Anfield to witness a dazzling attacking display. Liverpool played some fabulous football, carving apart a team who had set up in a 4-5-1 formation for the first time this season in an attempt to keep the red tide at bay.
"The star of the show was Gini Wijnaldum, who scored his second goal of the campaign with a fabulous lob. The Dutchman should’ve earned an assist too, as he created his first clear-cut chance of 2018/19, but Sadio Mané headed the opportunity wide.
"Wijnaldum appeared to be playing further forward than he usually does, and the data backs that notion up. His average position was the nearest it has been to the opposition goal in any league match this term.
"However, average positions can be misleading. Touch the ball on both goal lines and the average is the centre of the pitch. But Liverpool’s number five had five touches in the Bournemouth penalty area, when he’d previously made a total of 21 in opposition boxes in the league this season.
"Wijnaldum’s goal was arguably the most important of the match, as it gave the Reds a two goal lead for the first time in 2019. History suggests it almost guaranteed the three points too. Liverpool have lead 62 Premier League matches 2-0 at half time at Anfield, only failing to win on two occasions.
"With the intensity Jürgen Klopp demands from his team, it’s usually a good sign when they dominate both the ball and the defensive statistics. Liverpool had 66% possession, but made 11 more tackles and 11 more ball recoveries than the visitors did. The Reds were on it from the back of the team to the front, and the Cherries never stood a chance.
"We do have to put this result in to context. This defeat meant Bournemouth became the first side for 13 years to lose eight Premier League away games in a row while conceding at least two goals in each of them. But we also have to recognise when Liverpool have blown away a side who altered their tactics in a futile attempt to frustrate them. It was a near-perfect performance ahead of a multitude of mouth-watering matches."