Liverpool will reportedly step up their pursuit of Genk midfielder Sander Berge. That would surely signal the end of Marko Grujic at Liverpool, however.
The Mirror claim that Fabinho’s injury is influencing Liverpool’s thinking. Suddenly, the Reds look short in midfield and Berge would help that.
It’s not as though Liverpool lack players who can play that holding role, though. Gini Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson and even Adam Lallana have played there in recent seasons. The problem is that none of them look particularly comfortable there and certainly not their best.
So you can see why the 21-year-old Berge would be an option. He’s comfortable playing that holding role, although in a slightly different way to Fabinho – which may be more useful.
Fabinho likes to sit in front of the defence, win tackles, make interceptions, and play comfortable passes. That’s not to say he isn’t capable on the ball or of splitting a defence, but that’s not his primary strength. Berge, on the other hand, isn’t quite the ball-winner that Fabinho is but he is more comfortable pushing forward with the ball.
That makes him an interesting option. Those are strengths, after all, that don’t limit themselves to the holding role, thus Berge could play ahead of Fabinho in the midfield, too. This wouldn’t simply be a ‘cover’ signing.
But that does come with a sacrifice – Grujic. The Serbian, who was Jurgen Klopp’s first signing for £5.1m, is on loan at Hertha Berlin. It’s difficult to see how he’d fit into the squad if a younger midfielder has arrived into an already packed midfield.
Especially if that midfielder has also had six months to integrate with the squad before Grujic returns.
Liverpool signing Berge this January makes a lot of sense. That sacrifice, however, is quite a big one as Grujic is a very talented player. Klopp and co. need to think about this one very carefully.