As the lockdown in the country continues, television broadcasters have taken to replaying classic matches.
The BBC have hit on a winner with their World Cup rewind, which at the weekend saw highlights of Holland’s 5-1 thrashing of Spain in 2019.
Everyone remembers that. What they won’t recall, though, is Gini Wijnaldum coming on as substitute for the Dutch and almost snaffling a sixth goal for his country.
Wijnaldum is that kind of player, rarely capturing the spotlight but hugely dependable and so often a big-game player.
That he has started all bar five games for Liverpool in the Premier League and Europe this season – he was injured for three and came off the bench in the other two – underlines his consistency.
Joe Rimmer – 9
Gini Wijnaldum remains the one enduring aspect of Liverpool’s success.
He’s always there, central in Liverpool’s midfield and central to Jurgen Klopp’s irresistible Reds this season.
Consider this, Wijnaldum has started all but one of Liverpool’s Premier League matches, missing the win over Bournemouth due to injury.
He started all but two of Liverpool’s Champions League campaign.
It speaks volumes as to how highly he’s valued by Klopp and, quietly, he has enjoyed another excellent campaign with the Reds.
He’s a vital cog and even if he does catch the eye every week, his importance is now clear to all.
Liverpool’s biggest problem remains getting that new deal signed. Wijnaldum is just too important to let go.
Matt Addison – 8
Gini Wijnaldum has played times in all competitions for Liverpool this campaign, and While he might only have contributed five goals, and is yet to provide an assist, that does not tell the whole story.
Look at every big match that he has been fit and available for, not just this year, but previously too, and he will have featured.
Thomas Partey vies with Gini Wijnaldum during the Champions league match between Liverpool and Atletico Madrid at Anfield (Image: JAVIER SORIANO / AFP via Getty Images)
Only Virgil van Dijk and Roberto Firmino have played more than Wijnaldum in the Premier League this season.
He’s Jurgen Klopp’s ideal midfielder for the role that he plays, functioning perfectly as the man to retrieve and then hold on to possession, alleviating pressure as he moves his team-mates up the pitch.
There has been plenty of talk about the future replacements for the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, but Wijnaldum’s assets will be almost as tough to replicate.
Liverpool have not yet agreed a new deal with the Dutchman, but it would make a lot of sense to do so given his current standing in the squad.
The only reason he won’t have been given one so far is his age – at his peak years are already upon us, though James Milner has proven there can be value in offering Players in that category an extension.
Certainly, should he be made available, clubs around Europe would be queueing up for Wijnaldum’s services, because at times this season he has been brilliant, and even when he’s not at his best, you know he’s still having a big say in proceedings in some way thanks to a relentless work ethic and an often unseen influence.