Gini’s so happy to share the work­load

Daily Star Sunday - - RESULT! - By STEVE MIL­LAR

GINI WIJNALDUM ad­mits that his body was “bro­ken” dur­ing a pun­ish­ing first sea­son at Liver­pool af­ter ar­riv­ing from New­cas­tle.

But with boss Jur­gen Klopp hav­ing splashed out £74mil­lion on mid­field sup­port this sum­mer, the Dutch­man will not be run­ning on empty come next May.

Liver­pool have the de­mands of Cham­pi­ons League foot­ball to con­tend with this sea­son but Wijnaldum, 26, can han­dle that know­ing he will get chances to put his feet up for a well-earned rest.

The ar­rival of Mo Salah and Alex Oxlade-Cham­ber­lain means there is com­pe­ti­tion for places in the mid­dle of Liver­pool’s speedy at­tack­ing force.

Wijnaldum, though, has a ‘bring-it-on’ at­ti­tude af­ter ad­mit­ting that his 40 ap­pear­ances on his de­but sea­son did take a heavy toll.

He said: “Last sea­son I played al­most all the games but at the end of it my body was bro­ken. It was tough.

“But it has al­ready changed from last year be­cause we have so many matches, we have to rest a lot.

“That, though, is what you want as a player – to play in as many com­pe­ti­tions as you can so I’m not com­plain­ing.

“But play­ers will get tired so if you have a big squad it’s eas­ier to man­age at the end of the sea­son.

“Last sea­son we didn’t have a lot of op­tions at cer­tain stages so that made it hard. We now have a re­ally good team with a lot of qual­ity.”

Wijnaldum has im­pressed since his ar­rival for £25m in July 2016 and when he scored the win­ner against Manch­ester City on New Year’s Eve, sec­ond-placed Liver­pool be­lieved they were on their way to hope­fully bring­ing back the ti­tle to An­field.

That cam­paign ended with Klopp’s side frus­trated in fourth by the time May came around but Wijnaldum is con­fi­dent there will not be another great fade away this time around.

Wijnaldum added: “Last sea­son we did well in the first half but in the sec­ond half we were not re­ally a threat to Chelsea be­cause we lost too many games and dropped too many points.

“But ev­ery­thing can hap­pen this sea­son.

“It’s bet­ter to first com­pete than to say im­me­di­ately we are go­ing to win ti­tles.

If you’re not com­pet­ing, you’re not al­lowed to think about ti­tles.

“We will see what hap­pens but a club like Liver­pool must al­ways try to com­pete to win some­thing.”

IT was hardly a fit­ting match to mark the oc­ca­sion of the 125th an­niver­sary of Liver­pool’s first game.

That 7-1 win against Rother­ham Town in 1892 was the start of Liver­pool’s glo­ri­ous his­tory, which in­cludes be­ing cham­pi­ons of Europe on five oc­ca­sions.

But there was noth­ing re­motely glo­ri­ous about this match at an un­usu­ally-sub­dued An­field.

Not that Burn­ley were com­plain­ing as they main­tained their un­beaten start to the sea­son away from home with another ex­cel­lent per­for­mance.

They took the lead through Scott Ar­field and af­ter Mo Salah had equalised for the home side, Sean Dy­che’s men could have won it.

Ben Mee pro­duced two late head­ers from suc­ces­sive Rob­bie Brady cor­ners which caused panic for Liver­pool.

The first was headed off the line by Joel Matip and the sec­ond was blocked by Reds keeper Si­mon Mig­no­let.

Liver­pool, with Philippe Coutinho start­ing for the first time since he was blocked from join­ing Barcelona, at least picked up the point which made it 1,000 at home in the Pre­mier League.

But this will still be viewed as two points dropped.

Burn­ley boss Sean Dy­che, though, was un­der­stand­ably de­lighted.

He said: “You’ve got to de­fend well in the Pre­mier League but par­tic­u­larly at places like this.

“They made seven changes but were still throw­ing on play­ers who cost for­tunes.

“But we are do­ing bet­ter away from home be­cause we are learn­ing about the Pre­mier League.

“It’s not just what I am do­ing, but what the play­ers are do­ing.

“We came here to make it un­com­fort­able for Liver­pool.

“Every­one tells you they are strug­gling from set-pieces and we nearly won it from a cou­ple of those sit­u­a­tions.

“We are not go­ing to out-foot­ball Liver­pool, so we had to make it un­com­fort­able for them.”

There was a big fo­cus be­fore the match on Liver­pool’s de­fen­sive record, just a week af­ter their 5-0 drub­bing at Manch­ester City.

Boss Jur­gen Klopp (right) stated be­fore the match that he is happy to shoul­der the blame for the goals con­ceded.

But he was clearly un­happy with his back four – and with cen­tral de­fend­ers Joel

Matip and

Rag­nar Kla­van in par­tic­u­lar –when

Burn­ley took the lead in the

26th minute.

Rob­bie Brady climbed well to win James Tarkowski’s long ball in the air, Chris Wood chal­lenged and the cen­tre of the Liver­pool de­fence opened up invit­ingly for Ar­field to race through and stroke the ball into the far cor­ner of the net.

Klopp was feel­ing bet­ter, though, three min­utes later when his side hit back with a quick equaliser.

Emre Can found Salah, who had headed just over.

But this time the he pro­duced good con­trol and a crisp left-foot fin­ish for his fifth goal of the sea­son.

Some Liver­pool fans thought their side had taken the lead in the 41st minute when Daniel Stur­ridge’s left-foot strike crashed into the net­ting.

But cel­e­bra­tions were cut short when every­one re­alised Stur­ridge had hit the side net­ting from Coutinho’s per­fectly-weighted pass.

Burn­ley keeper Nick Pope – in for the in­jured Tom Heaton – then held on to a low ef­fort from the ad­ven­tur­ous Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Coutinho adopted a shoot-on­sight pol­icy as Liver­pool stepped up the pres­sure and his lead was fol­lowed by Can.

The Ger­many mid­fielder pro­duced an ef­fort which was too hot to hold for Pope – later booked for time-wast­ing – but Burn­ley man­aged to sur­vive on that oc­ca­sion at the ex­pense of a cor­ner.

Pope then beat out a rocket of an ef­fort from Stur­ridge as the Eng­land striker cut in from the right be­fore strik­ing the ball left-footed.

The Clarets keeper saved well again from Alexander-Arnold six min­utes from time as Liveroool made a late charge to win it.

And two min­utes later, Pope su­perbly turned sub­sti­tute Dominic Solanke’s close-range ef­fort on to the un­der­side of the bar, af­ter Liver­pool had ap­pealed for a penalty when Mee chal­lenged Salah. Dy­che said: “Nick han­dled it well. He made some ba­sic saves then some spe­cial ones late on.”

As the ten­sion in­creased, Can and Burn­ley’s Jack Cork were cau­tioned when they clashed in added time.

Klopp said: “I can’t feel pos­i­tiv­ity to­day but I will to­mor­row be­cause of our foot­ball.” ear­lier

LEVEL TERMS: Salah makes it 1-1 with a left-foot fin­ish at An­field ■

SMILES BET­TER: The Egyp­tian cel­e­brates his equaliser for Jur­gen Klopp’s Reds ■

I’M BACK: Want-away ace Coutinho fires in a shot on his re­turn to the side

KOP SOL­DIER: Wijnaldum

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