By James Miller – @JimmyMiller2608
Liverpool have officially announced that Serbian midfielder Marko Grujic will go out on loan for the 2019/20 campaign.
This will be his third spell out on loan since joining the Reds, having enjoyed good spells with Cardiff and also Hertha Berlin – the side he will be returning to next season.
According to respected journalist David Maddock, Jurgen Klopp refused to entertain offers for the midfielder, claiming that Klopp himself convinced the player he will be a major part of the clubs plans moving forward from the 2020/21 season, should he enjoy another successful spell with the German side.
Grujic initially joined the club in a deal worth a suggested £5 million in 2016 from Red Star Belgrade. Since arriving, he has found first team opportunities hard to come by in competitive football for Liverpool. However, throughout his time out on loan, he has continuously shown that he does possess quality.
It had been rumoured previously this summer that the Serbian may have been subject to a £40m bid from Spanish giants Atlético Madrid. Naturally, interest from such a high calibre outfit can only highlight his development as a player.
There is evidently something about the young midfielder that Jurgen Klopp admires, with the German making him his first signing after his appointment on Merseyside.
Indications are that the German is not the only person who respects the 23-year-old’s footballing quality – former Hertha Berlin manager Pal Dardai described him as “by far the best midfielder I’ve seen in my time at the club”.
Assessment of the midfielder would prove not too bad reading for Klopp and his team, with Grujic enjoying a fine first season in the Bundesliga in 2018/19. He was able to demonstrate different aspects of his game, flourishing in one of Europe’s top five leagues.
His towering 6ft 3in frame proved beneficial as he managed an impressive 56% success rate in aerial duels, mostly followed up in positive fashion. He showed his eye for attacking too, attempting a lot of penetrating passes in an attempt to help aid his forward and averaging 7.54 attempted passes into the opposition’s final third per 90 minutes.
The most impressive part is that most of those passes weren’t worthless – a respectable 75% were actually successful. In addition, no player at Hertha was able to provide better statistics in that department.
At a club like Liverpool and with the style of play that Klopp has implemented as manager, that type of commitment to helping move the side forward in transition rather than electing to play simple balls may well be a crucial factor in his hopes at succeeding on Merseyside.
As a central midfielder, Grujic shows understanding in creating a balance between attack and defence, something that is positive to see moving forward. It could be argued that he has developed enough to be a starting figure for a lot of sides. Having said that, the influence one additional year away from the club may have on the development of his career could be a major turning point.
He is a player who works hard and he will almost definitely prove to be a good buy for the club regardless, but don’t be surprised if he features heavily for the Reds in the very near future.