Former Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum has admitted for the first time that there was a time he did not feel the love from the club.
The Dutchman left Anfield at the end of June after a stellar five years with Jurgen Klopp. The true impact of his exit will become clear next season, but he is a big loss. He proved an almost ever-present for manager Klopp, who highlighted his reliability as one of his best traits in his farewell message.
Wijnaldum has previously stressed that he wanted to stay, but did not because of a contract disagreement with his employers.
Liverpool did not want to hand the 30-year-old his preferred terms. The lack of resale value after another big contract played a significant part.
Wijnaldum has always spoken highly of Liverpool and the treatment he received from the club. However, in a fresh interview with The Guardian, the Dutchman has admitted frustration.
“There was a moment when I didn’t feel loved and appreciated,” the now-Paris Saint-Germain star said.
“Not my teammates, not the people at Melwood. From them, I know … I can say they all love me and I love them.
“It was not from that side, more the other side.”
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Wijnaldum was a big feature in Liverpool’s crucial games across all competitions throughout his stay.
However, he said that he felt he did not get enough credit for staying fit last season when a host of other Liverpool players succumbed to injury.
Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Fabinho and Jordan Henderson were among the absentees.
Wijnaldum admits Liverpool grievances
Wijnaldum said that the fans on social media and in the stadium were “two different kinds”, with the Anfield faithful supporting him despite knowing he was leaving.
He added: “On social media, if we lost, I was the one who got the blame. There was a moment when I was like: ‘Wow. If they only knew what I was doing to stay fit and play every game.’
“Other players might have said: ‘OK, I am not fit.’ You get players in their last year who are like: ‘I’m not playing because it is a risk.’ I did the opposite.
“I didn’t always play good but, after the game, I could look in the mirror and say: ‘I gave it all. I trained hard to get better.’ Even with the physios, I took the most possible treatment I could get.
“I cannot remember when I had a day off because I played so many games and basically it was too much for the body but I did everything to stay fit.”
Liverpool have reportedly made replacing Wijnaldum a priority in this summer’s transfer window.