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Liverpool have a Gini Wijnaldum problem that Youri Tielemans could solve

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Speculation surrounding Gini Wijnaldum's future has finally ended after months of uncertainty regarding whether he will sign a new Liverpool deal or leave the club this summer; the Dutchman has agreed to join Paris Saint-Germain.

The midfielder has been representing the Reds since 2016, having arrived from Newcastle United for around £25million, and he's proved to be a loyal servant of the club since his transfer, winning a Premier League and Champions League in the process.



There are reasons as to why his contract predicament was tricky for both parties to navigate - especially given that he's now 30 years old - which made any negotiations difficult, but now that his departure has been confirmed, Jurgen Klopp has lost one primary yet underrated quality.



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Simply put, Wijnaldum's availability since coming to Anfield has been remarkable and it was particularly useful this season given the hectic schedule and the injury problems which the Reds have encountered.



It is an undervalued trait that many top talents don't possess for one reason or another, but Wijnaldum has proved to be one of the most robust and durable midfielders in Europe.

Since the beginning of the 2018/19 campaign - which covers over three seasons - the Dutch international has accumulated 8,601 minutes on the pitch in the Premier League.

That is at least 1,938 minutes more than any of his midfield teammates at Liverpool, with Fabinho second on 6,663 minutes followed by Jordan Henderson's 5,929 minutes.

He has featured in 110 league contests over that time period, compared to the next-best total of 86 posted by Fabinho.

Incredibly, the numbers in question exclude his appearances in the Champions League, Club World Cup, Super Cup, FA Cup and Carabao Cup.

Whoever replaces him at Anfield is unlikely to possess that same degree of staying power, although there are some midfield names who have showcased solid endurance throughout Europe's top five leagues in recent times.

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Potentially attainable players such as Youri Tielemans, Declan Rice, John McGinn, Franck Kessie, Yves Bissouma, Fabian Ruiz and Ruben Neves vaguely fit the bill based on the time they have spent on the field, although then would come the obvious questions as to whether all of those have enough quality to execute Klopp's game and sport the famous red jersey.

In addition, they have to fit the club's age criteria while also being available for a realistic and reasonable price, which is rarely the case when it comes to Premier League players.

Availability is just one of the very many boxes that a Liverpool midfielder has to tick. Wijnaldum has certainly done that, but will the next in line be able to do the same?

*A version of this article was originally published in April.


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