Eye-opening new data proves Robbo and Gini’s importance to Liverpool

Andy Robertson and Gini Wijnaldum are among the 25 most-used players throughout 2020, with the duo proving crucial for both Liverpool and their national teams.

This season has seen talk of the ‘red zone’ increase significantly when it comes to a player’s fitness, with Jurgen Klopp performing a juggling act with his squad in a uniquely busy season.

With injuries cropping up as a result of overuse, the manager has been required to be careful with how often he calls upon each player, with the absence of a number of key names making this more difficult.

Not only that, however, but the demands of international football have heightened this season, with the majority of the Reds’ first team facing three fixtures during every break, rather than two.

Robertson is captain of the Scotland national team, while Wijnaldum is now wearing the armband for the Netherlands during Virgil van Dijk‘s lengthy layoff, with the pair hugely important to their countries.

But they are also, as first-choice starters for Klopp, similarly key at club level, and this has seen them used more than most throughout the calendar year of 2020.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 16, 2020: Liverpool's Andy Robertson celebrates at the final whistle during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

According to the CIES Football Observatory, only 12 outfielders across world football have clocked more minutes for club and country than Robertson this year, with the left-back on the pitch for 4,049.

Meanwhile, Wijnaldum has played 3,957, which ensures he sits 24th in the list, with Liverpool one of only three clubs to have more than one player feature in the top 25.

Man United have the most, with Harry Maguire (4,745) playing more minutes than any other player in world football in 2020, while Bruno Fernandes (4,164) and Vitor Lindelof (4,142) are also among the top seven.

Inter Milan count Romelu Lukaku (4,144) and Wijnaldum’s Netherlands team-mate Stefan de Vrij (3,943) on the list.

Man City, whose Ruben Dias has clocked 4,344 minutes playing for City, Benfica and Portugal in 2020, are the only other side from the Premier League who feature in the top 25.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, November 22, 2020: Liverpool’s manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates with Georginio Wijnaldum (R) after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. Liverpool won 3-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The CIES Football Observatory have collated the 100 most-used players for both in goal and outfield, but Liverpool do not feature beyond Robertson and Wijnaldum.

It should come as no surprise, therefore, that the pair are among the three most-used players within Klopp’s squad this season at club level, with Mohamed Salah (1,653) joining them.

Robertson is yet to miss a game in the Premier League or Champions League this term, though he was left out of the starting lineup for the 2-0 loss at Atalanta and the 1-1 draw at Midtjylland in Europe.

That stalemate in Denmark was the first time this season that Wijnaldum has failed to feature in either competition, and Sunday’s 7-0 win at Crystal Palace was the first time the No. 5 has been subbed off in the league.

Wijnaldum did only play a minute in the Merseyside derby back in October, however.

Given the Dutchman’s contract situation, this data only further highlights his importance, and though he is four years Robertson’s senior, it can certainly be argued that he has proved he is worthy of an extension.