It has been such a good season for Liverpool Football Club and it could get even better with a Champions League semi final around the corner. However with so many of our players catching the headlines for all the right reasons I wanted to look at two players that I think have been key for us this season and have gone under the radar.
In my mind Georginio Wijnaldum and James Milner have been two of Liverpool’s unsung heroes this season and have both played vital roles in running our midfield and helping drive the team forward.
I’ve been very impressed with Wijnaldum this season, despite only scoring once the Dutchmen is becoming a key component within the inner workings of our midfield. Known for his attacking play, Wijnaldum has adopted a more defensive role as the season has developed, and I think this change has brought out the best in him. It was after we got slaughtered by Tottenham at Wembley in October that Klopp realized that we needed more defensive cover in our midfield and asking Wijnaldum to do this was a stroke of genius from our manager.
Wijnaldum hasn’t exactly operated in the number six role all the time, apart from against Everton and Manchester City in the second leg, but what he has done is operated as a six and a half. He has been allowed to get forward and join the attack more than Henderson but less than he did last season and this has actually worked out brilliantly not only for Wijnaldum but also for us as a team. Wijnaldum has done the simple jobs in that midfield like intercepting the ball and playing those little five yard passes to keep the ball flowing, but he has done this so well and I think we actually really missed him when he was ill a few months ago.
Then there was the second leg against City last week where he had to step into that number six role, we should not under estimate the influence he had in that game. He held his position brilliantly in the first half where we were under the cosh and in the second half when we did get our foot on the ball he was cool and calm and just able to keep the ball moving, Wijnaldum’s long range passing may not be as good as Henderson but think his short range passing is better than our captain’s and I just think he has been immense for us this season.
You cannot talk about immense players for Liverpool this season without discussing James Milner, at the age of 32 you would be forgiven for thinking that Milner might be showing signs of nearing the end of his career, but he has proven time and time again that he is a workaholic and at times this season he has ran that midfield in a way I’ve not seen anyone do since Steven Gerrard left the club.
After a slow start to the season where Milner struggled to get into the first team he had to force his way back into Klopp’s plans, and boy did he. Milner has been absolutely fantastic for us this season, a captain in his own right there has been times where I think he has been more deserving of wearing the armband than Jordan Henderson.
The energy that he brings to that midfield, even at 32, is priceless and for someone who was described by Klopp as being the complete player a few years ago Milner is definitely living up to his name. I want to go back to the first leg against City at Anfield where I thought he was the best player on the pitch, he ran our midfield dictating the pace and flow in the game, he was amazing and that game summarizes his performances this season.
If Milner hadn’t retired from International football, and believe me I’m glad he has, he would definitely be on the plane to Russia and honestly I would have had him as captain for the national side, and if it wasn’t for Van Dijk I would be saying Milner should be given the armband for Liverpool as I think he’s earned it.
These two players have been absolutely fantastic for us this season and despite going under the radar I think if we are going to win a sixth European crown they are both going to be vital in us doing so.
I want to end this article this week by giving a shout out to all those people who made it to Anfield on Sunday for the 29th anniversary of Hillsborough, we are at a point where it is very important that we keep campaigning for the 96 especially with justice being so close, it is also really important to educate our kids about Hillsborough. There is a new generation of Liverpool fans coming through the ranks and we owe it to the 96 that the next generation of our supporters are told about what happened on April 15th 1989 so that they can make sure that the mistakes of Hillsborough are never repeated.
Article by Imraan Adam
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