After failing to score in 90 minutes, Liverpool’s and Arsenal’s Carabao Cup future was put to a penalty shootout. Over a month ago Mikel Arteta’s side bested the Reds from 12 yards in the Community Shield and the same result followed in the League Cup as the Gunners came out as 5-4 victors.
Despite the obvious disappointment at missing out on one chance of domestic silverware, Jürgen Klopp came away from the game with a couple of positives, one of them being Marko Grujic.
The 24-year-old marked the start of Klopp’s era at Anfield becoming the German’s first signing for the club. However since then, the former Red Star Belgrade midfielder has struggled to stamp his name within the first team and was instead sent out on loan to Cardiff City and Hertha BSC for the past two and a half seasons.
The No.16 is now back on Merseyside and has started in Liverpool’s last two League Cup fixtures. He impressed in both, particularly against Arsenal.
The Serb, who stands at 6ft, 3in, controlled the middle of the park and was his side’s stand-out performer. He dominated the opposing players when it came to aerial duels, winning four, and was also a threat when it came to set-pieces. In the second half, the midfielder was unfortunate not to set up Virgil van Dijk with a deft header as Bernd Leno produced a magnificent save to deny the Dutchman.
Later on in the half, Grujic had his own chance at goal with a looping header. Leno once again dealt with it excellently. Surprisingly, Liverpool’s deepest lying midfielder had more shots than anyone else on the pitch with seven with Curtis Jones and Diogo Jota lagging well behind with three attempts at goal.Embed from Getty Images
Defensively, he won five tackles and completed three interceptions. For someone who hasn’t been a part of Klopp’s squad since early 2017, he looked extremely comfortable in the No.6 role all game and looks to be a good option in that spot, especially at the moment with Thiago sidelined with coronavirus and Fabinho having to fill in at centre-back due to a shortage of defenders.
The £5m man’s recent performances have certainly given the boss and his staff a reason to consider keeping him around.
It remains to be seen whether his stellar displays have been an attempt to work his way back into the German’s plans, or perhaps just a sign of him upping the gears to attract potential suitors.
Marko Grujic’s short-term future will become known before Monday night at 11pm when the transfer window closes. Should the Serbian stay put at Anfield, the Reds will have yet another excellent option in an already competitive midfield.
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