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Better than Coutinho: Why 26-year-old is the unlikely hero at Liverpool

COMMENT By Matt Farr

The path to stardom for Georginio Wijnaldum at Liverpool has been far from straightforward.

The 26-year-old was immediately thrown under the microscope following his £25million move from Newcastle in the summer, with expectation soaring to gargantuan levels.

But after a slow start to life at Anfield, Wijnaldum is now showing some of the qualities Liverpool have been lacking in the absence of Steven Gerrard.

Wijnaldum has chipped in with important goals and assists here and there, but he has done so consistently since the start of the new year.

He has two goals from his last three Premier League appearances, and is really starting to find his feet under Jurgen Klopp.

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There is still much more for the Netherlands international to do to cement his place in Liverpool history, and that starts with consistency, and maintaining his current level of performances for prolonged period.

But where others, such as Philippe Coutinho, have failed, Wijnaldum has excelled.

Coutinho has struggled since his return from an ankle injury to find the form that has made him such a valuable asset to Liverpool over the years, but his fellow Liverpool midfielder has picked up the pieces.

His intelligence and energy has proven invaluable over the past few weeks, and his goalscoring prowess from midfield raises particular comparisons with former Reds hero Gerrard.

But playing alongside such players as Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana – who each continue to draw the plaudits – it has often seen Wijnaldum slip under the radar.

However, after game-changing displays against Burnley and Arsenal, people are now starting to notice what he can do.

If Liverpool can secure a top-four finish in the Premier League at the end of the season, Wijnaldum will be able to hold his hand up and say he has played his part.

In other Liverpool news, Lee Dixon has praised Adam Lallana for his performances for Liverpool this term.

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