Liverpool legend Graeme Souness has accused Gini Wijnaldum of already having his head in Spain as the Reds’ season falls apart.
The Scot says the No.5 isn’t playing with the same intensity as last term and it’s costing the team as a whole.
In his latest column for The Times, Souness was critical of Liverpool’s midfield – Wijnaldum in particular – but no-one was safe as he urged Jurgen Klopp to rebuild his roster.
‘Injuries have hurt Liverpool badly, but they have not played with the same intensity either. Some players have felt sorry for themselves,’ he wrote.
‘They have not responded as well as Jürgen Klopp would have expected or wanted them to. They felt it wasn’t their year and have meekly accepted that.
‘They need to rebuild their midfield — it’s the catalyst for their pressing. People talk about the strikers, but a lot of their success was based on getting the ball back so quickly because of Gini Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Fabinho putting a shift in.
‘Wijnaldum is leaving for Barcelona and I’m not sure how I’d have reacted to a player who made it clear he was off, how that goes down in a dressing-room. The players may make a joke of it, but it also may not sit well with all of them.
‘He’s not played with the same intensity this season, Henderson has been absent with injuries, Naby Keita has not shown he can step up, Milner’s another year older, Fabinho’s often filled in at centre back and Thiago Alcantara has come into a team that’s been huffing and puffing.’
The claim that Wijnaldum is ‘leaving for Barcelona‘ is quite bold, but there has been no confirmation of this by reliable journalists or outlets as of yet.
The Dutchman, like most of his team-mates, has endured a difficult season at Anfield, but singling him out seems a little harsh.
Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino have also looked like shadows of themselves and with finishing chances a big problem this season – not creating them – perhaps the blame should lay further up the pitch.
But, as touched on by Souness, injuries to Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Jordan Henderson are the most outstanding excuse for Liverpool’s faltering form in 2020/21.