In another lackluster Anfield performance of 2017, Liverpool barely scraped past Burnley as the game ended 2-1 to the home side, however.
It was an ugly Liverpool victory to say the least, and it wasn’t easy to find an outstanding player among a team full of average performances. Georginio Wijnaldum however showed his worth, with an important goal that essentially changed the game.
The midfielder epitomized his box-to-box quality with surging runs from midfield and important defensive duties. He then found himself in the right place at the right time as the ball dropped to him in the area, with the Dutch international finishing well against a quality goalkeeper.
The timing of his goal was essential for the home side, putting Burnley on the back foot and low in confidence going into the break.
Liverpool’s number five poked the ball home in the 1st minute of first-half stoppage time, meaning all 16 of his Premier League goals have been scored in home matches (five for Liverpool, 11 for Newcastle).
He was certainly more effective going forward than at the back, often using his strength to hold off the opposition and allow his team-mates to go forward.
His composure in front of goal was one of the rare moments of positivity in a Liverpool side still lacking confidence from a poor start to the year. Wijnaldum conveyed his value in a time where star players Coutinho and Mane did very little, perhaps feeling the effects of carrying the team all-too often this season.
Speaking prior to the Burnley game, Wijnaldum expressed that “You remind each other on the fact that the second half of the season you didn’t do that well against the lower teams and today is a big test again.”
His words were once again true today, however his side just about managed the victory, with his contribution vital in picking up all three points.
Wijnaldum has had a slow start to his Liverpool career, scoring just two goals prior to his equalizer at home to Burnley. His others came in a 6-1 thrashing of Watford, but more importantly in the 1-0 victory over Manchester City in late December.
Klopp will be hoping Gini can continue to battle in midfield, with some key fixtures arriving within the next couple of weeks.
The Reds now sit fourth on 55 points, five ahead of Arsenal and one behind both Spurs and Man City.
A huge game awaits as they travel to Manchester City on Sunday, where an entire squad of first-class performances is required in order to come away from the Etihad with at a crucial victory.