Liverpool, a club who have won six Champions Leagues titles in their illustrious history – more than any other British team- with the most latest one coming last season. But it wouldn’t have been possible if not for Georginio Wijnaldum.
After defeating Bayern Munich in the Round of 16, and Porto in the quarter-finals, the Reds were scheduled to play Barcelona in the semi-finals last year. In the first leg, powered by Lionel Messi, the Blaugrana beat Liverpool at the Camp Nou 3-0.
The Argentine magician scored two goals, including a sumptuous free-kick, while Luis Suarez also got his name on the scoresheet. Late in the game, Ousmane Dembele had the chance to score a fourth, yet somehow, when it was easier to score than miss, he failed to bulge the net.
Little did the Frenchman know how costly it would prove to be for Barcelona.
In the second leg at Anfield, Liverpool took an early lead through Divock Origi. In the second half though, the game would turn on its head.
Georginio Wijnaldum scored two very crucial goals to help his side level the score on aggregate, and his goals will go down in history as the start of ‘that’ incredible comeback.
By now, it’s easy to judge the importance of the Dutchman, whom Klopp had signed from Newcastle United in 2016, for a paltry £23 million. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Wijnaldum has been worth every single penny.
So it’s obvious that the Merseyside club have been trying to tie down Wijnaldum to a new contract and as per recent reports, an extension is looking increasingly likely.
Georginio Wijnaldum: Liverpool’s heartbeat
The Reds have been in discussions with the 29-year-old over extending his current contract, which runs until next summer.
There has been a breakthrough in talks, as Wijnaldum was eager to have assurances that he will continue to be a key player in the next few years. He is expected to sign a three-year extension, until 2024-25.
Since joining Liverpool, Georginio Wijnaldum has turned out for the club 177 times across all competitions, scoring 18 goals, whilst also providing 16 assists.
Keeping aside the numbers though, the Netherlands international is the perfect example of the club’s progress under Jurgen Klopp, and FSG’s astute transfer dealings.
Signed for the price of peanuts, when compared to the inflated transfer business Liverpool’s Premier League rivals have bee doing, Klopp has helped turn Wijnaldum into a world-class midfielder.
His versatility was there for all to see in the Reds’ Champions League triumph last season, with the Dutchman contributing in the attack, while also keeping the team’s shape intact.
Liverpool’s Mr Reliable
Georginio Wijnaldum is one of Jurgen Klopp’s most trusted deputies and has played in all but one game in the Premier League this season, which clearly shows how much he’s valued by the German tactician. He may not be the most skilful player on the pitch, but he does his job well.
The Netherlands international is an excellent passer of the ball, his ability to link-up play is unparalleled within the Liverpool squad, and his work ethic is second to none.
Every manager in the world would love to have an intelligent and hard-working player like Wijnaldum to fall back on, and so, it comes as no surprise that Liverpool are prepared to give a three-year extension to a player, who will turn 30 later in November this year.
Why keeping Wijnaldum makes sense for Liverpool?
As the old adage goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” and Jurgen Klopp certainly believes in this philosophy.
At his age, Liverpool won’t be getting too much money for Georginio Wijnaldum, and moreover, they will have to replace him by signing another midfielder, which means not renewing his contract could potentially cost more.
Liverpool were always interested in retaining the player and why not, he has been consistently delivering the goods since walking through the door at Anfield. Elsewhere, with Adam Lallana eager to move to pastures anew, retaining Wijnaldum is a no-brainer.
Since moving to Anfield from the St. James’ Park, he has continued to be a loyal servant to the Reds, and is expected to be doing so for the next few seasons as well.
All stats courtesy: Transfermarkt.co.in