Gini Wijnaldum was on the scoresheet for the Netherlands on Monday night, and many Liverpool fans were quick to praise the Dutchman for his performance on Twitter.
The 28-year-old rounded out a 4-0 rout over Estonia in 2020 European qualifying with a fine header, beating Kop teammate Virgil Van Dijk to make contact from eight yards out.
His goal was the icing on the cake of a comfortable evening for the Netherlands, who now have nine points from four matches in their qualifying group.
It also marked eight goal involvements in nine national team appearances for Wijnaldum, who has hit five goals and three assists in that run.
Here are some of the best tweets from Liverpool fans.
Wijnaldum scoring for Netherlands again wow pic.twitter.com/7IGx6M0eEp
— Gino???????????? (@_MasterSalah) September 9, 2019
It’s becoming something of a norm to see Wijnaldum pull out this kind of performance in an orange shirt now.
His regular involvement in goals in a free-scoring side must be pleasing for Liverpool supporters to see, but equally, there will be some questions asked as to why he reserves this kind of form for the international break.
So far this season, Wijnaldum has averaged just 0.8 shots and 0.3 key passes per game in the Premier League, as per Whoscored, and has yet to score or assist any of his teammates.
In fact, he managed just three goals and no assists in 35 Premier League appearances last term, at a rate of 0.9 shots and 0.7 key passes per game [Whoscored].
That discrepancy in form is both frustrating and a little worrying, and raises some serious questions as to why the Dutchman isn’t performing like that at Anfield.
Unpopular opinion: Wijnaldum > De Bruyne
— ???????? (@NotLFCharlie) September 9, 2019
Why’s wijnaldum prime seedorf when he plays for Holland
— Tosh (@ftbltosh) September 9, 2019
The answer is almost certainly tactical.
When he plays for the Netherlands, Wijnaldum is asked to play in a number 10 role, just in behind the front-man. For a while now, that front-man has been Memphis Depay, himself a winger playing out of position, and his propensity for wandering allows for more interplay and interchange between him and Wijnaldum.
By contrast, on domestic duty, Wijnaldum is expected to play in a midfield trio, usually alongside Jordan Henderson and Fabinho.
In this role, he is tasked with taking a more workmanlike approach, acting as one of a triumvirate of pistons designed to fire the engine that supplies the attacking talents of Sadio Mane, Mo Salah, and Roberto Firmino.
The fact that he has a pass completion rate of 90.7% this season, following on from 91.1% last term, as per Whoscored, should tell you just how effective he is in that role.
In short, he scores more for his country because he plays in a different position substantially closer to the goal.
If he keeps this form up much longer, however, he could end up occupying a similar briefing for Jurgen Klopp and his team.
Wijnaldum unlocked for the Netherlands ffs Klopps got blood on his hands
— Jamie (@JxmieLFC) September 9, 2019
Still no idea why Wijnaldum hasn't been offered a new contract yet. Playing the best football of his career #LFC
— Ben Rogers (@eviemae239) September 10, 2019
wijnaldum again #LFC
— conor mallon (@conormallon10) September 9, 2019
Midfield of De Jong, Van de Beek and Gini Wijnaldum is the best midfield trio at international level. Oranje is back ????
— Nasir (@NasirLFC) September 10, 2019