Forget Salah And Van Dijk - THIS Liverpool Player Has Been The Star Of The Reds Premier League Title Charge
Liverpool's rise to the summit of the Premier League table has been hugely impressive but there is one player who perhaps doesn't get the recognition he deserves, outside of Anfield at least.
The goalscoring exploits of Mo Salah, the defensive nous of Virgil van Dijk and the tactical tinkering of manager Jurgen Klopp have all received glowing reviews and rightly so. One player continues to sneak under the radar though and yet he is the man who has helped to ensure the defensive solidity that has seen the Reds ship just ten goals in 21 league games, while scoring 49.
Georginio Wijnaldum. Make no mistake, the former Newcastle man has been a revelation this season and the Liverpool fans know it, although the Dutchman is perhaps someone who doesn't get the recognition he deserves on a wider scale.
Plenty of eyebrows were raised when the Reds splashed out £23m for the midfielder in July 2016 as he had done little at Newcastle to suggest he was a player that could help take the Reds to the next level. And yet he has become one of Klopp's most trusted lieutenants.
The 28-year-old has shown tremendous tactical versatility as he was originally pigeon-holed as an attacking midfielder at Newcastle, yielding mixed results in the North East, but he has flourished under Klopp.
He has been asked to fulfil a role as a central midfielder, a defensive midfielder, a centre-back and on the right-side of midfield during his time on Merseyside, earning the trust of Klopp during an impressive end to the last campaign and an electric start to this one.
Wijnaldum has completed 90 minutes in 19 of Liverpool's past 26 Premier League games stretching back to last season, and it is a sign of his importance to Klopp that the Liverpool manager has opted to give the Dutchman some rest during the busy Christmas period.
Klopp recognises the value of a player who is quietly becoming the linchpin of this Liverpool side. He is the player who turns defence into attack. Wijnaldum boasts the third-most passes in the whole of the Liverpool squad this season - 1354 - and that is the most of any Reds midfielder. He ranks 7th for number of tackles made by Liverpool players in the Premier League and fifth for shots attempted.
Wijnaldum may not be the man who makes headlines, wins man-of-the-match awards or scores all of the goals, but he is the player who helps to make the current league leaders tick. His importance shouldn't be undervalued - Klopp knows it, Liverpool fans know it and the rest of us are starting to appreciate Georginio Wijnaldum.