Dylan Gerstley gives the low-down on new boy, Marko Grujic.
Marko Grujic has arrived on Merseyside and as Klopp’s first signing he understandably carries the burden of immense pressure from critical supporters.
Many Liverpool fans have never seen the young Serbian midfielder so much as kick a ball but expectations are high. Grujic is already a World Cup winner at youth level and represents the superior athletic build required to fit into Klopp’s tactical system. The 19 year old plied his trade with Red Star Belgrade last season and won the league.
The midfielder stands at a massive 6’3”. Height is important in the combative Premier League with regards to defending set pieces and winning balls in midfield and with Grujic’s arrival, Klopp has added size to one of the smaller teams in the division. The young midfielder also has a massive engine and he can run for days, an excellent attribute to have in the Reds’ gegenpressing style.
Grujic is more of a box to box midfield dynamo than a one dimensional attacking or defensive midfielder. His height and stamina make him idea in a deeper lying role as he can win aerial duels while also putting in a shift defensively. He could clearly add solidity and stability to a midfield and his capabilities were emphasize with Red Star Belgrade.
Agility and a silky touch bely his extreme height but Grujic possesses the technical ability to succeed in a tangled Premier League midfield battle. He dominated the Serbian league at just 19 years of age and he should have gained the experience needed to succeed in England.
Many have compared the promising prospect to Liverpool’s own Steven Gerrard because of his all-action capabilities. Grujic possesses an eye for a pass, an engine, quick, great feet, and a defensive work rate that emulate a younger Captain Fantastic. Though it is clear the two share similarities and the Serb looks to fill the holes Gerrard left, a more apt comparison in style would be Emre Can.
The young German came into his own last season under Klopp. He ran everywhere for the team, constantly spraying passes across the field and dribbling through clogged midfields with ease. Grujic can do the same, and just like Can, he possesses a strong, athletic build that will enable him to cope with the physicality of the Premier League. If Grujic is anything close to what Can was last season in his maiden Merseyside campaign, than the Reds have something special on their hands.
With his box to box capabilities, Grujic can slot into a holding or deeper lying role in Klopp’s 4-2-3-1. The three attacking midfield spots are up for fierce competition and Grujic does not possess the same level or type of skill as any of Liverpool’s crafty attackers. The holding role will play to his box to box strengths as he can still get stuck in defensively while also transitioning the team from defense to attack. His passing and vision will be instrumental in Liverpool’s buildup play.
Grujic’s athleticism, technique, vision and potential make him a shrewd signing for Liverpool. The midfield dynamo could yet grow into a Merseyside legend like Steven Gerrard, but even if he fails to live up to the most epic of comparisons, Grujic makes the new look Liverpool younger, sleeker, and even more athletic. Klopp’s midfield is quickly becoming a strength of the club and Grujic will only help the Reds dominate games.