Liverpool played their first game since Philippe Coutinho’s £142 million move to Barcelona and Gini Wijnaldum is well pleased with how his teammates got on.
When Virgil van Dijk was ruled out for the big clash, many fans were disheartened but four goals were enough to end Manchester City’s 30 game win streak and Wijnaldum insists he and his teammates weren’t thinking about Coutinho.
Anyone watching the game would argue that there didn’t seem to be any concentration issues as Jürgen Klopp’s high pressing was out in full force as they sought to stifle Guardiola’s players and deprive them of any space on the pitch.
When asked about the win against City marking a good start to life without Coutinho, Gini said: “To be fair we didn’t think about that. It is the reality we accept.
“We hoped he wanted to stay but also understand why he wanted to go. Everyone wanted him to be happy because he is a good guy and he gave his all for Liverpool. Even when they didn’t let him go in the summer he still performed and was always good with his teammates.
“When a player like that wants to make a step in his career you let him, even if on the other side everyone wanted him to stay. He is such a good lad we are happy for him he got the move he wanted.”
Liverpool scored four fabulous goals through Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamad Salah as Klopp’s emphasis on teamwork prevailed.
Gini underlined this when he continued: “I don’t think the manager has a way that depends on one player. Phil is an outstanding player and we will miss that, but we have to move on. That is what we did. I think maybe the media said we have to step up without him and we have to play with that intention.”
And asked whether or not Chamberlain stepped up and filled the gap left behind by Coutinho on Sunday, Wijnaldum said: “He does it well. He is in good form and it helps the team. He adapts quick. We see it in training. It’s good for the team.”