Georginio Wijnaldum wasn’t exactly the kind of ‘big-name signing’ Liverpool fans had been anticipating when Jurgen Klopp took up the Anfield hot seat in 2015.
In fact, Kopites were left rather underwhelmed by the arrival of the Dutchman who swapped Newcastle for Merseyside in the summer of 2016.
The Magpies had just been relegated with Wijnaldum netting on 11 occasions in the Premier League.
While he had shown glimpses of his substantial talent, it is fair to say the folks on the Anfield terraces would need some convincing.
Since then, Wijnaldum has been relentless in his pursuit of improvement and has become one of the most valued members of Klopp’s squad.
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His tireless work rate in the midfield is immensely valuable while his contributions in front of goal have come at some incredibly vital moments for the Reds.
His brilliance in the engine room even lead to the famous Kop coining a chant in his honour.
Still, ‘Gini’ - as he is affectionately known - remains one of the most underrated footballers on the continent.
However, his performance against Barcelona in the semi-final second leg best encapsulated what Wijnaldum is all about.
The 28-year-old dominated the midfield after coming on at half-time, inspiring Liverpool to one of the greatest comebacks in history.
Without their precious Gini, Liverpool would never have been in Madrid for the Champions League final.
Thankfully, they were, and they made the most of it, claiming their sixth European Cup.
Unsurprisingly, the celebrations that followed were rather raucous and who can blame them.
After the heartaches of three losses in major finals and losing out to City in the league, it was only natural for the Liverpool players to make the most of the moment.
Wijnaldum though showed his incredible professionalism by refusing to indulge with any alcohol.
Even after the biggest win of his career, Wijnaldum knew he would be required to do the business for his country only days later.
“Alcohol is for the holidays, not now. The Nations League is just a great prize to win,” Wijnaldum was quoted as saying.
Wijnaldum will have a big role to play in Netherlands clash with England tonight.
If any England fans had been hoping the incredible celebrations had taken the edge off, they’re in for a lump of disappointment.
Good on you, Gini.News Now - Sport News