Gini Wijnaldum’s two quick-fire goals against Barcelona in the second leg of the semi-final have forever etched his name into the annals of Liverpool history.
Playing 62 minutes in Madrid’s Champions League final victory, Gini was relieved by James Milner to eventually see out the 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur; but, the Dutchman is still flying high on the emotions of glory, eager to taste it once more.
“Because I know how it feels right now, I want it again,” Wijnaldum told the official club website. “That’s why I came back hungry, the guys also came back hungry to achieve even more.
“It’s a good feeling and it’s the feeling you want to get used to, winning trophies like that. That’s why everyone is hungry to do even better this year and win more.”
“You always look forward to coming back and especially because we won the Champions League, you want more this season. So you’re really hungry to start.”
In these six lines, Gini uses the word “hungry” a total of four times, explicit evidence of his winning appetite; this craving is one of the vital ingredients of a recipe for success.
Indeed, the 28-year-old has had his surfeit of football having come to the pre-season table late after helping the Netherlands to reach the final of the UEFA Nations League in June.
Like Roberto Firmino, Alisson, and now Sadio Mané, Gini and Virgil van Dijk, that’s five Reds to have reached second finals this season after winning the club’s sixth European Cup.
Absentees for the Tranmere and Bradford pre-season victories, the Dutch duo will join up with the rest of Jürgen Klopp’s European Champions for the USA tour this July.
Expected to operate in Klopp’s three-man midfield for the upcoming season, time will tell if the boss decides to tweak his positional tactics and employ Gini in his more attacking ‘Netherlands role.” Though, it seems unlikely we’ll see a return to the Barça, first-leg cameo that saw Wijanldum up front.