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Jürgen Klopp Praises Gini Wijnaldum as a “Leader in the Dressing Room”

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It’s obvious how highly the Dutchman is valued at Liverpool

Liverpool Training Session Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

It certainly feels like Gini Wijnaldum’s stock is high right now.

Something of a subject for “what does he do” criticism in past years, the midfielder has shown himself to be vital to the way Jürgen Klopp wants his midfield to play. A vital cog in the side, and apparently a great figure off the pitch.

“Gini speaks on the pitch for the way he plays. It’s just so obvious his importance,” The Mirror report Klopp as saying.

“And it is in both directions – in attack and defence, small spaces, big spaces, it is hard challenges, fine football, pretty much all of that.

“There was his header against Barcelona too. He is not the ­tallest, but he is good in the air.

“He is a good jumper with good timing, all that stuff. It all makes him a pretty good footballer.

“That is how it should be. It is not my fault if he goes under the radar. You cannot ask me why he goes under the radar. I don’t set the radar!”

Speaking more of his behind the scenes qualities, the Liverpool manager insisted Wijnaldum is “a ­personality in the dressing room. He is not the guy who says yes to everything.

“He’s not really knocking on my door, but, just like any other human being, if there are things he doesn’t like, it’s normal.

“Character is what makes you the person you are and sometimes it stops them going a bit further.

“I don’t mind players knocking on my door, but it shouldn’t ­happen too often. It is more about the information. If my information is correct, then hopefully they will accept it rather than making it a more personal thing.

“The perfect reaction was when I didn’t start him against ­Barcelona at home – and he came on and scored twice.

“I said to him, ‘You scored twice!’ He replied, ‘Yes, but that’s because you didn’t let me out from the start’. I said, ‘So, who is right now?”

“They can’t change what ­happened in the final, but they can use that and that will not be helpful for us,” added Klopp.

“They have quality and are in a situation they don’t want to be in.”

Liverpool have great figures at the club on and off the pitch right now. Everything feels really good. Let it stay that way as long as possible.