The fans demanded that Jurgen Klopp handed a start to Georginio Wijnaldum in last week’s clash with Tottenham and it certainly paid off.
He was outstanding. Not only did he provide the assist for Sadio Mane’s opener, but he proved to be an influential player in terms of protecting his back four and joining Jordan Henderson in dominating the likes of Victor Wanyama and Moussa Dembele.
Emre Can had endured a few tough weeks and it was time Wijnaldum was given another chance to impress. Saturday’s 2-0 win over Spurs demonstrated how important the Dutchman is to Liverpool and why he has to play.
Anfield legend John Aldridge has praised the former Newcastle man for his role in what was a much-needed three points for the Reds.
“What a display. By far his best in a red shirt. Top class,” he wrote in his column for the Liverpool Echo.
“I remember when he signed, a lot of people thought he would be the kind who goes missing in the big games, a flat-track bully. If anything he’s been the opposite – his better performances have come against the big boys.”
“For me, I think this lad needs to realise just how good he is.”
“There is one place up for grabs in that Liverpool midfield, and it is between Wijnaldum and Emre Can. It’s up to Wijnaldum to deliver this kind of performance on a regular basis, and if he does then there is no contest.”
He and Jordan Henderson set the tone for the game against Tottenham. We know they are strong in midfield with Dembele and Wanyama, but we won the battle, we were up for it physically and that made a huge difference.”
There was a grit to Wijnaldum’s performance at the weekend that suggested he was prepared to fight for his place in the starting eleven and that he was beginning to realise what he can offer this team.
After providing goals and assists against some of the top sides in the league, the next task for him, as it is for the entire team, is to start controlling games against teams from lower down in the division.