In a team littered with world-class talent, unsurprisingly, there will be a few faces that tend to go under the radar.
For Liverpool, that man appears to be none other than Georginio Wijnaldum. Whilst his individual statistics are not the most pleasing on the eye in terms of goals and assists, the Dutchman still continues to appear underrated in the grand scheme of things.
Against Manchester United, it was the £25 million [BBC] signing from Newcastle that selflessly manoeuvred around the park hunting the ball back for his team. Alongside club captain Jordan Henderson, Wijnaldum and the Liverpool skipper were comfortably the two best players on the pitch.
The midfield duo dominated the middle of the park from start-to-finish. The former Newcastle star is the ultimate ‘big-game’ player. When the titanic encounters present themselves Wijnaldum never falters.
He is the embodiment of the project Jurgen Klopp has created in his four-year stint with the Reds. One of the most selfless footballers in the team, Wijnaldum has truly bought into the German’s philosophy and has embraced what Klopp has created in terms of a team ethic.
The former PSV midfielder is always there to sacrifice himself for his players. If the full-backs bomb on its up to Wijnaldum to inevitably provide that much-needed cover and put in that shift for his team.
His attacking play against the Red Devils was just as impressive in terms of progressing with the ball forward. Wijnaldum was crushingly denied what would have been one of the great Anfield goals Liverpool had created this season following a correctly judged offside call.
Wijnaldum is also one of the most intelligent footballers in Klopp’s armoury. The 29-year-old has this effortless ability to use his elegant body frame to his advantage. The technique and balance used to glide past opponents and shield the ball is nothing short of sensational. He had United skipper Harry Maguire on toast when he brushed past the Englishman before presenting a chance to Sadio Mane who should have hit the target.
If there was a player for the big occasions Wijnaldum would be the last to hide-away. It can be difficult to shine in a world-conquering squad that features some of the continents best players but it’s about time the Dutchman was talked about in the same bracket as some of his teammates.