Gini Wijnaldum has revealed that his part in the 4-0 victory over Barcelona in the Champions League was inspired by a desire to override his tactical instructions.
The Dutch international admitted to ignoring both Jurgen Klopp and Pep Lijnders before being introduced in the second-half and registering two quickfire goals to get Liverpool back in the tie.
“Klopp probably spoke to me [during half-time] but I was so angry [at having been dropped] that I didn’t listen to him,” the midfielder was quoted as saying by The Times (via The Guardian).
“The only moment I listened to him was when the morning training stopped and he said: ‘Gini, you have to be ready because I need you when you come on.
“When I did come on, Pep Lijnders [the assistant manager] told me that when we built up I had to come into a back three to get the ball with the wing-backs higher.
“In my head, I was like: ‘No, no, no. I’m not going to do that. I just try to play up front, try to score goals.’ I was so angry that I wanted to do my own thing and, in the end, it helped.”
The Reds went on to seal their passage through to the final courtesy of a Divock Origi winner in the second-half, beating Tottenham in the final.
We can’t imagine the player’s decision would have been met with grins from the coaching staff – at least not initially!
Though, to be completely fair to the former No.5, it’s a refusal that ultimately steered us toward a famous victory on aggregate against the La Liga giants.
To Wijnaldum’s credit, he’s always been a reliable performer, and we’re more than grateful that on this one occasion he decided to revert back to being a goal threat, as he continues to be for the national side.
Gini’s a player we at the EOTK will greatly miss and we wish him nothing but the best for the future.