Liverpool further enhanced their title credentials with a thumping 5-1 win at home to Arsenal on Saturday, and one man who doesn’t always grab the headlines should be commended for his performance.
Over the summer, Jurgen Klopp spent big to improve his squad, and much of the focus was on the midfield, which lacked the strength in depth to challenge Manchester City. Naby Keita finally arrived from RB Leipzig after the 2017 deal agreed between the two clubs, and Monaco’s defensively minded midfielder Fabinho was signed for a huge £43.7m.
Many would have expected both of these to come straight into the starting line up at Anfield, but Klopp has since rotated his squad brilliantly to keep everyone happy and at their best.
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However, one man who is almost undroppable right now is Georginio Wijnaldum. The 28-year-old has massively upped his game this season in the face of improved competition for places, and his performance against Arsenal proved just how important he is for the Reds.
The Dutchman was everywhere. He won tackles in the box to deny the Gunners goalscoring opportunities and he started attacks by breaking the lines with impressive forward passes.
The most telling stats are perhaps his three dribbles completed and three tackles made, proving that Wijnaldum produced one of the best possible all-round midfield displays at Anfield.
Add that to his impressive 87 per cent passing accuracy and it is clear that he has put in the work to remain a key part of this impressive Liverpool squad.
With the huge game against City up next, Wijnaldum was dragged off by Klopp in the 76th minute against Arsenal to a huge standing ovation. Given that he always looks able to outrun anyone for beyond 90 minutes, the former Newcastle man won’t have been happy to come off when he was playing so well, but it is a sign of his importance to this team and should certainly be considered a compliment.