Liverpool have hit their stride at the one of the most important parts of the season, and Georginio Wijnaldum has been an integral part of that.
The Dutchman has featured in all but two of their fixtures this term, and his engine in midfield helps Jurgen Klopp’s men to play the high-intensity style that has brought them so much success in recent weeks.
Though he isn’t involved so much with goals and assists, the ‘fab four’ of Philippe Coutinho, Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino take care of that, scoring 22 of the Reds’ last 26 in all competitions.
And the form of those four has propelled Liverpool right back into contention for a Champions League place, and last weekend leapfrogged Arsenal into fourth.
They’ve won seven of their last nine games, drawing two, since that 4-1 hammering by Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley in October, which shows the mental strength at the club.
Liverpool can extend that run with a win in the Merseyside derby against Everton at Anfield tomorrow, a team they’re unbeaten against since 2010.
Klopp’s men have conceded only two goals in their last nine Premier League outings at home, and given the Blues haven’t won there this century, all the evidence points to another Liverpool win.
Speaking ahead of the match, WIjnaldum revealed the moment that Klopp turned their season around, following that drubbing against Spurs.
He says that the German made them watch repeats of the match, which was ‘painful’, but gave them a reality check that has had an enormous effect on the players.
“I find it strange seeing myself on television,” he said. “I don’t like it. I don’t really watch football much.”
“That room was a really painful place to be that day. How we defended was painful also. But what the manager made us watch was the truth and we had to look in the mirror.
“It was a good thing as we learned from it. It won’t happen again.”
Wijnaldum wasn’t in the squad for the Reds’ trip to Wembley, which in itself just shows how important he’s become, as they capitulated without him.
He’s only tasted defeat once in the Premier League this season, in the 5-0 defeat at Manchester City, when Sadio Mane was sent off.
After their own victory by the same scoreline at Brighton last weekend, Seagulls manager Chris Hughton claimed Liverpool’s attack could be more deadly than City’s at the end of the campaign.
And the former PSV midfielder was pleased with the comparison, but admitted they must show their prowess on a more consistent basis.
“Is that what he said? It’s a good compliment as everyone knows how good City are,” he stated.”Yeah, we can do it but we have to show it more. We should not be as far behind as this (14
“We have given games away and City have played fantastic. They have scored a lot of goals in the last minute and the luck they have had in some games we haven’t had. But they deserve to be where they are and we deserve to be where we are.”
If they continue their current form into the New Year and beyond, there is no reason why Liverpool can’t compete with Manchester City either this season or next.