Comparing the stats of every Liverpool midfield trio since the start of 18-19

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The additions of Fabinho and Naby Keita to the Liverpool squad has meant that Jurgen Klopp has faced a whole bunch of selection dilemmas in midfield since the start of the 2018-19 season.

In fact, since the Reds defeated West Ham on the opening day of last term, the German has opted for 13 different combinations of midfield trios when using his favoured 4-3-3 formation, according to Transfermarkt.

We’ve calculated the respective win ratios of each trio and how many goals the side as a whole has scored and conceded per game depending on which three players are in the engine room.

Wijnaldum, Keita, Milner

Matches played: 5
Wins: 4
Draws: 0
Defeats: 1
Win rate: 80%
Goals scored per game: 1.8
Goals conceded per game: 0.4

This trio has only been used by Klopp five times, mainly because Naby Keita’s persistent injury problems throughout last season denied him a consistent run in the team.

It was notably deployed in the 2-1 victory over Tottenham in September, where Wijnaldum’s header just made it over the line to open the scoring, but also away to Napoli in the Champions League, where Liverpool were devoid of creativity and eventually lost 1-0 to a late winner.

Henderson, Milner, Wijnaldum

Matches played: 9
Wins: 5
Draws: 2
Defeats: 2
Win rate: 56%
Goals scored per game: 1.6
Goals conceded per game: 1.1

There are often complaints on social media when this trio are named in the line-up, but these three are often trusted by Klopp when it comes to the big games, such as the crucial trip to Manchester City in January, in which Liverpool were narrowly beaten 2-1, and the 3-1 victory over Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in the Champions League knockout stage.

In fact, Klopp has used these three more than any other, with Liverpool averaging more than a goal conceded per game. The Reds have only scored 1.6 goals per game with Henderson, Milner and Wijnaldum in the team, which is towards the lower end of the scale in comparison to other trios.

Fabinho, Keita, Milner

Matches played: 1
Wins: 0
Draws: 0
Defeats: 1
Win rate: 0%
Goals scored per game: 1
Goals conceded per game: 2

It looks as if Klopp tried this one and threw it straight in the bin, with it only being used in the League Cup defeat to Chelsea at Anfield last September and never again. Sadly, that means it scores the worst for goals conceded by the team out of any of these combinations.

Henderson, Shaqiri, Milner

Matches played: 1
Wins: 1
Draws: 0
Defeats: 0
Win rate: 100%
Goals scored per game: 1
Goals conceded per game: 0

Used only once in a 1-0 win over Huddersfield Town, this trio was deployed during a period of last season in which Klopp continued to tinker with his midfield, with the German using Shaqiri in there on this occasion. It worked too, with the Swiss international providing a through ball for Mo Salah to tuck away the winner.

Fabinho, Milner, Wijnaldum

Matches played: 3
Wins: 2
Draws: 1
Defeats: 0
Win rate: 67%
Goals scored per game: 3.3
Goals conceded per game: 0.7

Most notably used in the 4-1 rout of Porto in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, in which Liverpool were sensational.

What’s more, Fabinho, Milner and Wijnaldum started together in the 5-0 hammering of Watford at Anfield, meaning it has the highest average number of goals scored per game of any midfield – albeit from a small sample size.

Fabinho, Lallana, Keita

Matches played: 1
Wins: 0
Draws: 1
Defeats: 0
Win rate: 0%
Goals scored per game: 1
Goals conceded per game: 1

This is another trio that Klopp has seemingly abandoned. It was used against West Ham away in January, the point during last season where Liverpool began to lose their grip on the Premier League.

Lallana did set up the first goal, but if VAR had been in play, it would have been ruled out for offside and Liverpool might have been one point worse off.

Fabinho, Keita, Wijnaldum

Matches played: 2
Wins: 2
Draws: 0
Defeats: 0
Win rate: 100%
Goals scored per game: 3
Goals conceded per game: 1.5

This is one of the more fruitful Liverpool midfield selections, helping to score an average of three goals per game. It was used only twice, but one of those games was the vital 3-1 victory over Southampton in April.

Henderson, Keita, Wijnaldum

Matches played: 3
Wins: 2
Draws: 1
Defeats: 0
Win rate: 67%
Goals scored per game: 2.3
Goals conceded per game: 0

Henderson, Keita and Wijnaldum have provided one of the most balanced trios since the start of last season, leading to 2.3 goals scored per game while conceding none. That defensive record is even greater when you consider these three had to deal with the quality of Bayern Munich.

Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum

Matches played: 7
Wins: 5
Draws: 2
Defeats: 0
Win rate: 71%
Goals scored per game: 2
Goals conceded per game: 0.9

One of Klopp’s more favoured trios, Fabinho, Henderson and Wijnaldum started the Champions League final victory against Tottenham. Furthermore, they have featured from the start in two of Liverpool’s four games so far this season.

Fabinho, Lallana, Wijnaldum

Matches played: 2
Wins: 2
Draws: 0
Defeats: 0
Win rate: 100%
Goals scored per game: 3
Goals conceded per game:1.5

There haven’t been many times since the start of last season when Adam Lallana has been fit enough to start in midfield, but he did so for the 4-2 win over Burnley in March. Lallana was excellent in that game, but he remains on the periphery of Klopp’s plans.

Fabinho, Henderson, Keita

Matches played: 2
Wins: 2
Draws: 0
Defeats: 0
Win rate: 100%
Goals scored per game: 2
Goals conceded per game: 0

Klopp went with Fabinho, Henderson and Keita for the 2-0 victories over Porto and Chelsea in April, and it therefore ranks as one of the best trios available to the German. But again, it involves Keita, who has not yet proven he can get a solid run of games under his belt.

Fabinho, Henderson, Milner

Matches played: 2
Wins: 2
Draws: 0
Defeats: 0
Win rate: 100%
Goals scored per game: 3
Goals conceded per game: 1

Fabinho, Henderson and Milner started in the 4-0 win over Barcelona in May, one of Liverpool’s all-time great European nights. But those who started in midfield won’t be remembered as much as Wijnaldum will, after the Dutchman replaced Andy Robertson and scored two vital goals to spark the comeback.

Wijnaldum, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain

Matches played: 1
Wins: 1
Draws: 0
Defeats: 0
Win rate: 100%
Goals scored per game: 2
Goals conceded per game: 1

Finally, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain makes an appearance. Had he not suffered the serious knee injury against Roma towards the back end of the 2017-18 campaign, this list could have been a whole lot longer. You might want to get used to seeing his name now he is back to full fitness.


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