Jürgen Klopp’s Reds seized the initiative in an intriguing Premier League title race while controversy left Pep Guardiola red faced, but amongst it all Georginio Wijnaldum delivered another top performance.
The Netherlands international goes about his business in a quiet manner, yet still regularly provides solid performances without garnering major recognition.
Many were shocked to see the Dutchman’s name amongst the top 30 best in the world when the Ballon d’Or shortlist was announced, but anyone who still questions why need only watch the 29-year-old play closely.
Liverpool entered the game against Manchester City knowing that a win would see themselves move into a comfortable position at the top of the Premier League table, with the possibility of establishing an eight-point lead ahead of second-placed Leicester City and the additional bonus of leaving their main rivals dumped in fourth there for the taking.
Like what you see? Get it for free!
Get all of our content delivered straight to your inbox — completely free of charge.
In truth the stakes couldn’t really have been much higher heading into the first league meeting of potentially the two best sides in Europe this season.
On the biggest stages and in the toughest atmospheres, the best deliver the goods in important moments. Looking back, Wijnaldum was on hand when the Reds needed him most, stepping up with two vital goals against Barcelona at Anfield to help see the Reds through to another Champions League final.
Although his involvement in turning around what looked to be a certain loss in the knockout stages of the Champions League will be put on a greater pedestal, his importance in the match against City should not be underestimated.
Despite a slow start in the opening moments of the game, the Reds found themselves in dreamland just 13 minutes in as Mohamed Salah made it 2-0. In the past Liverpool have had difficulties managing situations of similar nature — a famous example being the infamous capitulation at Selhurst Park in 2014.
Wijnaldum, who usually operates to the left of a midfield three, was instrumental in easing the pressure from his teammates as players like Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva threatened to cause havoc.
On numerous occasions he retained the ball in good fashion, whilst also distributing it with great efficiency. He was effective both with and without the ball and it was refreshing to see his confidence in taking on opponents, keeping the ball close before moving it on at the right time.
One of the best ways to describe Wijnaldum as a footballer is tidy. Is he the most gifted player at the club in regard to ability? No, but there has to be a sense of realism. Having said that he is a player who will get the basics right on more occasions than not, making them look simple with a sprinkle of flair for good measure.
Although there are more gifted players around than Georginio Wijnaldum, thinking of more consistent performers at the highest level is a much tougher task.