Gini Wijnaldum had clearly decided that enough was enough.
Midway through the second half, as Liverpool tested Anfield’s nerves with a period of dangerous escape from the defense, the Dutchman jumped on possession, withstood the challenge of several Palace players, and then threw a another home attack.
A trademark of Wijnaldum, it drew loud cheers from local supporters.
And, in some ways, summed up what the midfielder has brought to this Liverpool side over the past five years – and why he will be, so hard to replace.
The energy, vision, ball strength and quality to keep the game moving, he introduced a player who, this season at least, has done more than anyone to fight the fires in the engine room as Liverpool struggled during the winter months.
Available, reliable and always at a good standard, there has simply been no more selfless operator under Klopp.
No wonder the manager and his teammates had a heartfelt reaction to Wijnaldum’s post-match honor guard.
They know the value of the Dutchman, a player who regularly prioritizes the needs of the squad while he was also capable of the kind of performance that helped destroy Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals – and the has seen Zinedine Zidane turn for 45 years. incredible and unforgettable minutes.
Liverpool are not just losing one player to Wijnaldum. They lose several. An Anfield legend? Without a doubt.
Good luck, Gini.
Phillips facing a tough decision
It was only fitting that Liverpool ended the season without a center-back in great shape.
But as the patched-up duo of Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams completed the post-game appreciation round, they could be proud of a contribution neither of them could have anticipated at the start of the season.
Both suffered cuts to the head in the first half here – Williams having to briefly leave the pitch for stitches – but neither dodged the challenge posed by Palace forwards Jordan Ayew, Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend.
Indeed, it later emerged that Williams had been a major doubt with a hamstring problem before being declared fit a few hours before kick-off.
Virgil van Dijk, among those watching on the sidelines, will have appreciated both performances and the fact that in the last five games they have helped ensure the Dutchman has the Champions League to aim for a comeback next season.
Without any guarantees that Van Dijk, Joe Gomez or Joel Matip will be perfectly fit for the start of the new campaign, Klopp has already indicated that he wants Phillips and Williams to still be part of the squad ahead of the preseason.
Phillips in particular could have a tough decision to make on this, especially if Liverpool, as expected, strengthen their defensive ranks this summer. Its stock will probably never be higher.
For now, however, he and Williams can enjoy the moment. They deserved it.
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It’s time for FSG to step up
Despite the successful conclusion, very few people associated with Liverpool will wish a loving farewell this season.
Good riddance, rather.
And Gini Wijnaldum won’t be the only one saying goodbye to Anfield with the next transfer window which will see further development of the Reds squad.
The possible departures are obvious.
Divock Origi, his place in Anfield folklore, has failed to make the bench here. Naby Keita has had another disappointing campaign, while Xherdan Shaqiri could look for better first-team opportunities elsewhere.
And while the team needs some rejuvenation, part of it will come from within.
Thiago Alcantara’s strong final has whetted the appetite for next season, Diogo Jota will continue to improve while Harvey Elliot, impressively on loan at Blackburn Rovers this quarter, can provide an injection of youth.
Newcomers, however, are needed. And with Champions League football assured, Liverpool belatedly rediscovering his true self and, very happily, returning fans to Anfield, Klopp has done his part to keep the Reds as an attractive proposition as any in the world. world football.
Over to you, Fenway Sports Group. What do you have?