Marko Grujic has recently come under fire for the rash nature of some of his tackles and Klopp is hoping the Serbian can channel his aggression better.
Liverpool midfielder Marko Grujic spent much of last season on the sidelines after suffering an injury in late 2016 and among his return to first-team football, he was making the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
The Serbian dealt out a ‘strong’ tackle that left Palace defender James Tomkins in a crumpled heap at Anfield in May, before picking up a suspension for successive yellow cards in this summer’s U21 European Championships.
He was in fine form in Liverpool’s domestic friendlies against Tranmere and Wigan, looking good once again in the first match of the Reds’ Hong Kong tour against Palace but the midfielder drew criticism from Frank de Boer after leaving his studs on yet another Eagles player through a tackle that was deemed “not appropriate” by the London club’s manager.
Jürgen Klopp has now addressed the issue.
“I didn’t see it properly at the time but I heard it could have been a red card,” he told the Liverpool Echo. “That’s not good. For Marko, it’s something that he has to change.
“He’s a fantastic player, a really skilled boy. Tall, quick, talented footballing wise, all good but in these defensive situations, you always need to be early enough there so you are close enough to make a challenge and not a foul.”
Aggression and remaining switched on are areas in which Klopp is not only looking for improvement from Grujic but a number of his other younger team mates as well. The German most recently highlighted Trent Alexander-Arnold as another example in training claiming the 18-year old “defends like a kid and attacks like man.”
“I said it to the players after a session when we had a little situation with Divock and Trent,” the manager explained.
“It’s about coming too late, switching off the machine, trying to sort a situation in which you were late in mind. I hate that. When that happens you need to run, not foul. Make more steps, go, go, go. For me it’s always a bit lazy.”
Grujic has certainly settled well on Merseyside and has looked the real deal this pre-season, just as he did last summer but in order to take the next step and continue to progress, the Serbian will be hoping to keep his fitness levels high and his aggressive side in check.