Georginio Wijnaldum can usually be seen with a beaming grin on his face – and the Liverpool midfielder says he’s got every reason to smile this season.
The Dutch midfielder’s ability on the pitch and sunny disposition off it have helped him settle quickly into life at Anfield following his summer transfer from Newcastle United.
Wijnaldum came off the bench to score his first Reds goal in the resounding 6-1 victory over Watford at the beginning of last month, and has started all three of their games since.
Those matches have seen Jürgen Klopp’s team draw 0-0 at Southampton before recording back-to-back 2-0 home wins over Sunderland and Leeds United to extend their unbeaten streak to 15 games in all competitions.
Just one defeat in 17 outings this season means Liverpool start December one point behind Premier League leaders Chelsea and in the semi-finals of the EFL Cup – a record that helps keep that trademark smile on Wijnaldum’s face.
“Until now everything is going well, we’re winning games, playing well,” the No.5 told Liverpoolfc.com, after Tuesday’s win over Leeds.
“I’m still waiting on the goals! Today I was unlucky, I hit the post and it was a great save by the ’keeper, but it’s a great time to be here because you play with good players and for a good manager and that makes you a good player.
“So it’s happy times in Liverpool.”
Klopp’s side were pitted against Southampton in last night’s EFL Cup semi-final draw, with the two-legged tie to take place in January.
Wijnaldum is relishing the opportunity to reach the final at Wembley in February, and was pleased with the performance the Reds produced to progress past a resilient Leeds outfit.
“It’s always good to win the game and go to the next round. It was a really difficult game; the first half we didn’t create a lot of chances but in the second half we scored the goals so it was good,” he added.
“I think we did well in the second half. We conceded a few chances to them – they hit the post, that was their biggest chance, but at the other end we scored two goals and go to the next round. It’s not always easy in a difficult game, but we still did it so that’s good.”
Tuesday’s victory featured a landmark moment in Liverpool’s history, as Ben Woodburn became the club’s youngest ever goalscorer when he fired home at the Kop end from Wijnaldum’s unselfish assist.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ovie Ejaria also impressed for Liverpool – and Wijnaldum was full of praise for the teenage trio.
“It’s a good thing for Ben, a beautiful thing to score a goal. It’s his first goal, that’s good and nice to see,” the 26-year-old continued.
“He can be proud of that. I think all the young players worked hard to come to the first team and when they are with the first team they work hard to play, and they did.
“I’m happy for him to come onto the field and score a goal.”