Former Liverpool defender Stephen Warnock believes Jurgen Klopp’s tactics are failing to bring out the best of Georginio Wijnaldum at Anfield – and feels he could be missing a trick.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Warnock admits he’s a huge fan of the Dutchman’s talents, but reckons his role at Liverpool is far more restricted than the role he plays for the Netherlands.
As a result, and after watching the Reds storm to a 4-1 Champions League win over Genk on Wednesday evening – a game in which Jurgen Klopp still found room for criticism – Warnock has urged the German to tinker with his tactics in order to get more goals from Wijnaldum.
“I don’t think Klopp is short of options in midfield – he just needs to get the balance right,” Warnock told BBC 5 Live.
“For me, that depends on how good the opposition are. In certain games, you know he is going to go with industry over creativity. When Liverpool are playing Manchester City away, for example, Klopp will want to nullify City’s quality in midfield and make life very difficult for them.
“But of course there are other games against teams in the bottom half of the table where the opposition have their whole team back behind the ball, and the task is to break them down.
“That is where you need your creative players, which is where the likes of [Alex] Oxlade-Chamberlain, [Naby] Keita and Adam Lallana come in.”
Addressing his Wijnaldum beliefs, Warnock continued: “I still think he has lots more to offer as an attacking player too.
“He has already emerged as one of the mainstays of the Liverpool midfield but he would be far more of a threat if he were given the same freedom he gets when he plays for the Netherlands.
“Liverpool saw a glimpse of that last season with the timing of his runs into the box to score twice in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final win over Barcelona.
“It is clear how highly Klopp rates him and I can understand why.”
As a result, Warnock reckons Klopp needs to give Wijnaldum more of a licence to get forward and he added: “Wijnaldum is disciplined enough defensively to help keep Liverpool solid but, if you let him go forward the way I would like him to, he will cause the opposition lots of problems.”