(Photo: Jan Kruger)
It was tense, unbearable even, for 44 excruciating minutes. Then, just as they’ve done in so many big games this season, Liverpool backed a Gigi and their bet paid dividends.
Georginio Wijnaldum is the go to man for pressure situations, and never has he delivered bigger stakes than he did on the stroke of half time, when his goal fulfilled a Champions’ League dream for Jurgen Klopp.
It really was as simple as that.
With Arsenal and Manchester City seemingly home and hosed by half time in their respective games, the pressure at Anfield was palpable, almost physical, as the harrowing prospect of another failure against a defensive side loomed large.
Then Wijnaldium – fittingly for someone nick-named Gigi – galloped onto a lovely ball from Roberto Firmino, and where there was no space before, suddenly the hallowed turf opened up. As the Kop held its breath, the Dutchman unleashed a shot tinged with fury…and the top four was guaranteed.