Georginio Wijnaldum: Liverpool have made Anfield into a "fortress" this season

Georginio Wijnaldum: Liverpool have made Anfield into a "fortress" this season

Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum expects his side's heavyweight New Years' Eve clash with Manchester City will be an "interesting" game as he explained that the Reds have made Anfield a "fortress" with their performances and results on home soil.

Charlie Malam

Georginio Wijnaldum believes Liverpool have forged Anfield into a fortress ahead of the New Years' Eve visit of Manchester City after extending their unbeaten run on home soil to 16 league games.

The Reds haven't lost out in the Premier League on L4 since an unfortunate defeat to Manchester United back in January and extended their fine form with a 4-1 win over Stoke City on Tuesday.

Despite Jonathan Walters' early opener, Adam Lallana and Roberto Firmino reversed the deficit before half-time, a Giannelli Imbula own goal and substitute Daniel Sturridge's effort in the second-half sealing three points.

With it, Liverpool haven't lost in their last 23 matches in all competitions on Merseyside, with Wijnaldum insisting that City should be afraid of their visit to Anfield on Saturday evening.

Our form at home will "scare" other teams, suggests Wijnaldum

Speaking in the aftermath of Jürgen Klopp's side's win over Stoke, the Dutchman told reporters that Anfield has become "a fortress" and that "the way we are playing" and "the way we are scoring goals" at home "will scare opponents."

The midfielder explained that he believes the Liverpool team "have a lot of confidence" and "learn quickly and adapt to situations in games" at the moment.

He acknowledged that they "conceded the first goal against Stoke" but said that "from that moment" they were "still focused" and "knew we could score goals."

Wijnaldum stated that it is "always good to win" and especially "before a big game" because they "go into" the forthcoming fixture "with more confidence" as a result.

Midfielder pleased Reds have a wide number of goalscorers

The 26-year-old, who signed from Newcastle United for a fee in the region of £25 million in the summer, has been a crucial component of a free-scoring team that has netted 45 goals in the Premier League this term.

And Wijnaldum believes that with the sheer number of players that can win a game for the club, they can beat anyone.

He noted that they "played in a team at PSV" in Holland earlier in his career which had "a lot of attacking players" but said that this Liverpool team "is better."

The Reds' No.5 acknowledged that while 45 league goals "is a lot" they have "a lot of players who can score goals and win games" which he said is "a good thing."

He explained that the team's strength means they don't have to depend on any one player, saying: "If it depends on one person, it can be a problem because if that person doesn't score, you will not win games."

Wijnaldum said that Liverpool's next opponents, Pep Guardiola's City, "also have a good attack and good players on the bench" who "can come on and score goals."

But he doesn't think "there is a big difference between the teams" and that even with injuries, Liverpool - "have to play with the players we have" - which he is "happy with" because they "have a great squad."

Wijnaldum expects clash with City will be "interesting"

City travel to Liverpool without a win at Anfield since 2003, having lost on all three of their last visits - conceding eight goals in the process.

But the boost of talisman Sergio Aguero's return from suspension, the lethal Argentine having now served his four-match ban, means they will have confidence to add to their three-game winning streak.

Wijnaldum admitted that the two sides will go hammer and tongs for what would be a huge victory for either in the final game of the calendar year.

"It's [going to be] two teams that want to attack and score goals, so it's going to be an interesting game," he continued.

He accepted that striker Aguero "is a wonderful player" who "can win the game on his own", but called him just "one of the threats" that the home side will "have to deal with." 

Wijnaldum also name-checked forwards Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and Raheem Sterling and said that "you can go on" listing City's attacking threats.

Yet he said both teams "have players who can win games" for the team, adding: "They have to look at our players and we have to look at theirs."

On the meaning of the occasion, he said that "the season is long" and they "can't control other things" and "other games will come after Manchester City." 

With Liverpool six points behind league leaders Chelsea courtesy of their win over Stoke, Antonio Conte's men on a 12-game winning streak, Wijnaldum added: "Chelsea might come into a bad situation and drop points. They may not. You never know. We have to keep going."