Liverpool have received early vindication over their decision to allow Georginio Wijnaldum to leave after the Dutchman was panned by the French press.
Wijnaldum, 30, left Liverpool for PSG after five years of faultless service. The midfielder became an integral part of Jurgen Klopp’s all-action midfield during his tenure. That made the Reds’ decision not to bow to Wijnaldum’s contract demands all the more divisive over the summer.
Voices within the game weighed in on the merits of Liverpool allowing the Dutchman to leave. Club legend Jamie Carragher stormed to their defence after outlining the real reason Wijnaldum did not stay..
Gary Neville, meanwhile, warned of a major blunder after Jurgen Klopp’s side failed to sign a direct replacement.
However, prior to his recent ankle injury, Harvey Elliott had shone when deployed in Wijnaldum’s old position. In his absence, the likes of Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are expected to see more minutes than they have become accustomed to receiving.
And if the latest from French outlet L’Equipe is anything to go by, Liverpool may have dodged a bullet by not retaining Wijnaldum.
PSG were surprisingly held to a lowly 1-1 draw with Club Brugge on Wednesday night. Wijnaldum’s display in particular drew the scorn of the French outlet after he was hooked at half time.
Via Sport Witness, L’Equipe gave Wijnaldum a measly 3/10 score for his performance. That came on the back of a series of underwhelming showings in Ligue 1.
The problems in Wijnaldum’s game, per the paper, were not just limited to one department.
Described as a ‘real disappointment’, Wijnaldum was stated to have been mediocre ‘at best’ thus far. He is reportedly facing ‘great difficulty’ winning duels which had been a strength in his time at Anfield.
His inability to break Brugge’s press was also noted to be a particularly concerning ‘deficiency.’
Obviously, one cannot judge a player after only half a dozen appearances. But should Wijnaldum’s poor performances persist, Liverpool’s decision to sever ties will look an increasingly shrewd one.
Honest Klopp thought forward would’ve left
Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp says he cannot believe Divock Origi is still at Liverpool and admitted he thought the striker would leave Anfield this summer.
Klopp though made four changes to his side for Wednesday night’s Champions League win over AC Milan. And Origi was afforded a rare start in the come-from-behind 3-2 victory.
The Belgium international, who scored in the semi-final and final when Liverpool won the Champions League in 2019, put in a performance which offered hope he could still have a part to play.
And his manager intends to utilise the striker despite him seemingly falling out of favour over the last 18 months.
“In 10 years’ time when we look back he will be a Liverpool legend. But he is too young to be already seen as a legend now so he has to play football,” said Klopp.
“To be 100% honest I thought he would maybe leave in the summer. But the football world is a crazy place and people obviously forgot how good he is.