During the winter transfer window, Liverpool beat a number of top European clubs to sign highly-rated youngster Marko Grujic but loaned him back to Red Star Belgrade for the remainder of the season. Now the player is at Anfield, and the Reds have gotten a glimpse of him in some pre-season games. Let’s examine how he will fit in the Red half of Merseyside.
Marko Grujic is a midfielder, who shares a lot of similarities with Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic. Liverpool have a lot of quality players going forward, with the likes of Coutinho, Lallana, Mane, Firmino occupying the three positions behind the striker. Grujic will be rotated with the likes of Emre Can and Henderson as the base screening the defence, and getting the ball into the attacking third.
Grujic, 20, stands at an imposing 6’3″ which makes him an excellent physical specimen for the English Premier League as he will be able to win a lot of balls if played as a box-to-box midfielder or a deep lying playmaker.
Grujic’s dynamism is such that he is more of a box-to-box midfielder than a typical enforcer. In the 2015/16 Serbian Superliga season, he finished with 6 goals and 7 assists and was included in the league’s team of the season.
His ability to excel in different positions will allow Jurgen Klopp to deploy him in a variety of formations, depending on the quality of the opposition.
While talking about the player’s personality, fans and former coaches alike have termed him as a hard worker who is willing to learn, with the mindset of a winner.
Zeljko Paunovic, who coached the Serbian U-20 side to victory at the U-20 Championships in New Zealand, described him as follows;
“He is a good lad with a great mentality,” he said. “He’s not a born leader, but he’s not afraid to play big games”.
“I think he is much more than a regular playmaker or attacking midfielder. He would be better suited as a winger or behind the striker. I think that he should play on the flanks and closer to goal,” Paunovic added while talking about Grujic’s ability to excel in different positions.
All in all, it looks like Liverpool may have a new Gerrard in their hands and going into next season, fans will be hoping that Grujic can live up to the billing despite this being his first season at Anfield.
He’ll definitely need some time to settle in with the dominant style of play in the English top flight, but after his first few games in the League, we would be able to see the stuff he’s made of. Even with that factor in place, he could very well show his quality from the onset.
Jurgen Klopp favours hard working players, as it fits in with his preferred gegenpressing style. If his development progresses as expected, Liverpool might have unearthed Steven Gerrard 2.0 to serve them for the next decade or so; but of course, if Europe’s top clubs don’t come calling for his signature anytime soon.