By Scott Mason – @ScottMason00
The title race is heating up as Liverpool returned to the top of the Premier League after beating relegation favourites Cardiff City 2-0 in the Welsh capital.
The first half proved difficult for the Red’s as they struggled to put the ball in the net. However, second half goals from Dutchman Georginio Wijnaldum and substitute James Milner secured the three points for Jurgen Klopp’s title-chasing side.
The first goal came after a corner routine that came straight from the training ground – Trent Alexander-Arnold’s low cross into the box found the unmarked Wijnaldum, who struck sweetly a right-footed effort past the despairing dive of the excellent Neil Etheridge.
Liverpool’s second came in the form of a spot kick which came from a Sean Morrison foul on Mohamed Salah, the Bluebirds’ defender holding onto the Egyptian and dragging him to the floor.
But it was the Dutchman Wijnaldum who was particularly impressive at the Cardiff City Stadium. The No.5’s passing was excellent on the day as he achieved a 96% passing accuracy, the highest on the pitch – only two of his attempted passes missed their intended target.
Gini – deputising for Fabinho in the No.6 role – didn’t have much to do defensively but did his job exceptionally well when called upon. The 28-year-old won both his attempted tackles while also completing two interceptions.
The man from Rotterdam wasn’t involved heavily in the Reds’ attacking movements but scored with his only shot of the game, a wonderful strike that invoked a passionate celebration from the midfielder in front of the adoring travelling support.
Georginio Wijnaldum was superb against Cardiff, especially considering he was returning to the side after starting on the bench in the last Premier League game and provided the Reds with an incredible performance.
His showing in Sunday’s game will now certainly give Jurgen Klopp a selection headache, especially considering the excellent recent form of Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita.
It’s a problem that the German won’t mind having – though – especially considering the Anfield club continue to fight on two fronts for Premier League and Champions League glory at this late stage of the season.