Georginio Wijnaldum was signed by Liverpool in the summer of 2016 from Newcastle United and has been a hugely successful player for the club. He has settled in really well and has hit great form at the right time when Liverpool were struggling since the turn of the year. They have managed to beat Tottenham and Arsenal and are the most likely contenders for the final champions league place in the league standings. Though Arsenal and Manchester United have a game in hand over Liverpool, it is the Reds who have the momentum going into the final run-in of the season.
Wijnaldum has made 31 appearances for Liverpool and has scored 4 goals and assisted 6 more this season so far. The latest of those goals came against Arsenal and it only summed up his recent form. At Newcastle United, he played in an advanced role and was the focal point of their attack. He struggled to find his rhythm initially but ended up scoring 11 goals for the Magpies last season – a tally that is impressive for a midfielder who played for a team that struggled all season long.
However, at Liverpool, he has been deployed in a much deeper role in a three-man central midfield and has flourished under Jurgen Klopp. He has become a complete player and his gameplay suggests so.
When Wijnaldum moved to Liverpool, The Empire of the Kop interviewed Newcastle Chronicle journalist, Lee Ryder and here’s what he had said:
“Let’s get this straight, Gini Wijnaldum is a fine technical footballer on his day and he can be a match winner when he is in the mood. He started off quite well last season after making a £14.5million move from PSV Eindhoven to Tyneside. But with the team being in a poor state after some bad moves in the summer window, Wijnaldum was expected to lead the charge for survival. He did so at first and when he bagged four goals against Norwich, United fans thought they had a real star on their hands.”
“As Liverpool fans will know, he also done it against the Reds with a brace in a 2-0 at St James’ Park. Sadly that was as good as it got. He didn’t perform well in the second half of the season and he was very poor away from home,” he continued.
He added: “It was as if he could not take on all the responsibility of carrying the team by himself and disappeared when Newcastle needed him the most. That’s not a slight on him it’s just there weren’t enough good players around him. Although, some Newcastle fans do think that the lack of contribution from Wijnaldum and Moussa Sissoko, the club’s most talented players, was a huge factor in going down. Things got very bad for Wijnaldum at one point when Steve McClaren considered relegating him to the reserves shortly before being sacked. And Liverpool fans should know that even Rafa Benitez could not coax a performance out of him during his early games in charge before he consequently dropped Wijnaldum.”
He also said: “His two goals against Spurs on the last day of the season took his tally to a flattering 11 goals for the campaign. It was a taste of what Wijnaldum can do when the pressure is off. Given Liverpool have a lot of talent to put around him that might work in Wijnaldum’s favour. Gini is a good player but has a lot to learn about the Premier League.”
This almost reads like a prophecy. Wijnaldum has adapted well to his new surroundings and has really performed well with quality players playing around him.
It looks as though Wijnaldum is here at Liverpool to stay and the signs are good as it seems like he will only get better at Anfield.
Maybe Klopp must hire Lee Ryder as a scout!