Liverpool’s number 5 departs Anfield with a proud club medal collection, memories of an infectious smile, his own song, and a place in history for his part in THAT game against Barcelona in May 2019 – his finest hour.
After nearly 240 games and 22 goals, Georginio Wijnaldum departs Anfield having played a monumental role in the club’s recent successes – he is a Grand Slam winner. The 2019/20 season was a big drop compared to the previous two seasons with the Reds hampered by multiple injuries and poor VAR officiating. However, Liverpool secured Champions League football against all the odds following a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace with Wijnaldum appointed skipper on the final day.
Gini arrived at Anfield in 2016 after being relegated with his former employers Newcastle United. Of course, not the only player in this Liverpool side from the North who was relegated and then ended up winning domestic and European silverware a few years later. Come in Andy Robertson.
Wijnaldum is arguably the finest example of how Jurgen Klopp can shape and develop talent. He has an impressive goalscoring record for the Netherlands and played an advanced role for the Geordies.
Gini Wijnaldum’s place in Liverpool’s storied history is without question
His purchase at £25 million was made with another role in mind. He became a key member of the workmanlike, mechanical midfield which is characterised by energy, holding, and carrying. Gini was also a leader and part of the ‘captain’s committee’ alongside Jordan Henderson, James Milner, and Virgil van Dijk. When it came to hunting and pressing, Gini along with Fabinho, Henderson, and occasionally Milner, were the ideal combination. A vacancy now opens up in that position for Liverpool to fill.
Gini’s place in history is secure. With a knack for scoring in Champions League semi-finals, he was an unassuming but instrumental member of the historic side which smashed the 30-year streak.
In THAT mother of miracles night at Anfield, Gini who was annoyed at not starting the game, came on for the injured Andy Robertson at half-time. When chasing 4 clear goals to win this almighty contest, Klopp brought on Gini but this time to push on in the attacking third.
Origi’s first goal was mere consolation. Gini’s first was in the words of Clive Tyldesley, a “Hello, Hello, here we go” Steven Gerrard moment. Shaqiri’s delicious cross demanded and received the perfect head to tie the game and to send Anfield into ecstasy – the impossible was now amazingly, possible. Then the ballboy and Trent’s corner and the rest is history with Origi joining Gini with a double.
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How life might have been different had Robertson not been injured…….fine margins and all that.
Our number 5 very much helped us to secure number 6. Georginio Wijnaldum, thank you. YNWA.
Riaz Ravat is a member of Liverpool FC’s Equality & Diversity Fan Forum. He writes in a personal capacity.