Amid the ongoing uncertainty concerning the financial impact the current Covid-19 pandemic looks set to have on most businesses, including football clubs, next season seems like an ideal opportunity for returning loan players to push for a place in the Liverpool first team.
Currently on loan at Hertha Berlin, Marko Grujić became Jürgen Klopp’s first signing for the Reds back in 2016 as a 19-year-old, but it may be the 2020/21 season that sees him get regular playing time at Anfield.
It would be fair to suggest that his Liverpool career hasn’t gone quite according to plan since his arrival. He would have hoped to push into the first team before now, but separate loan spells at Red Star Belgrade, Cardiff City and Hertha have prevented that from happening.
While playing time has been limited at his parent club, he has found no trouble gaining precious minutes this season in the Bundesliga, making 26 appearances and largely impressing during his time on the pitch.
Recent developments have suggested that money may be tight for Jürgen Klopp this summer, something which may encourage reassessment of talents that have been earning their keep elsewhere this season.
The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic appear to have played a significant role in the Reds choosing not to move for long-term target Timo Werner, who is set to join Chelsea. It is unknown whether Klopp will raise funds to improve the squad through new talent, or if he will instead look to give an opportunity to some of those already on the books.
Along with the likes of Harry Wilson, Grujić may well be able to offer a new dimension to the squad. The Serbian international possesses more of a physical presence than other Liverpool midfielders, and has developed technically during his time away from the club.
Now into his second year at Hertha Berlin, the 24-year-old has made quite the impression and, in the past, has been hailed as “by far the best midfielder at Hertha Berlin in 20 years”.Embed from Getty Images
Former head coach Pál Dárdai heaped praise on Liverpool’s man during his time in charge of the capital club: “I’ve been at Hertha for 22 years. This isn’t meant as an insult to anyone else, but Marko is by far the best midfielder I’ve seen in my time here.”
Grujić is robust and can move around the pitch comfortably, helping maintain a solid structure to a midfield. In a sense his natural physique implies he’d be more suited to a defensive role, but his technique and power moving forward allows the potential for him to operate in a more advanced role.
There have been plenty of suggestions that Grujić could be a player on the move permanently, but reports are yet to be verified. In the meantime, the Serbian will be confident that he can force his way into the manager’s plans when he returns to Merseyside later this summer.Embed from Getty Images
Liverpool are set to lose the long-serving Adam Lallana at the end of the season and with the futures of other players on loan also unknown, such as that of Harry Wilson, Grujić’s development stands him in good stead.
A much more mature player, stronger, smarter and with a more nurtured understanding of the game, he has been known to do the dirty work at Hertha but has also used his offensive assets to contribute five goals this season alone.
Of course oly Klopp, along with the likes of Michael Edwards, will know Liverpool’s intentions for the Serbian. After their previous work in the transfer market, it’s safe to trust their judgements.
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