For the majority of Liverpool’s first-team squad currently in Austria, Saturday’s pre-season friendly against German outfit Stuttgart represents an opportunity to get minutes in the tank, yet for Marko Grujic it could mean so much more.
And, according to journalist Neil Jones, Grujic is ‘likely to feature’.
Grujic, 24, remains an ambiguous prospect ahead of the 2020/21 campaign following a two-year loan spell in the Bundesliga with Hertha Berlin.
According to The Mirror, Liverpool could be looking to offload Grujic to raise funds this summer meaning time is limited for the Serbian international to stake a claim regarding his Liverpool prospects.
This leaves little time for Grujic to get the manager’s attention and considering Liverpool’s first competitive match of the season is in a week’s time, the midfielder will have to make an impact straight away.
Clock is ticking
There is no questioning Grujic’s talent as his time in Germany showcased how versatile he can be in midfield and the experienced gained abroad will surely be something Klopp could look to use next season?
Yet, his first-team credentials seem unlikely. The Liverpool Echo say it’s ‘unlikely’ he’ll find a place in the squad – even Harry Wilson has more of a chance.
Hertha BSC remain interested in a permanent signing for Grujic and there have been suggestions of a potential £13m bid being thrown Liverpool’s way, according to reports from Bild.
Luckily for Grujic, there is still three years on his deal meaning Liverpool won’t make a rash decision this summer but if he is going to stake a claim to be considered in Klopp’s plans next season it has to be now.
There is no doubting if his performances in Germany were transferred to England then Klopp would certainly have to pay attention. During his time with Hertha, he had his manager saying he was the club’s best midfielder for 20 years.
That’s some praise yet it has not been enough yet to convince Klopp Grujic should be reconsidered ahead of the 2020/21 campaign which kicks off at Wembley next weekend.
A strong showing against both Stuttgart and RB Salzburg could be a start and will give Klopp the opportunity to watch Grujic with his own eyes for the first time in over a year.
It’s one thing to look at a player in training but it’s a completely different prospect when in a game situation.
Grujic has stated before it is still ‘a dream’ to prove his credentials in the Premier League and if he can get the ball rolling in Liverpool’s upcoming friendlies then it could improve his chances of featuring next season.
The same could be said for Nat Phillips who could face the team he was with on loan last season after the Liverpool defender helped Stuttgart return to the German top-flight last season.
While pre-season fixtures are often seen as low-key events, for players like Grujic, it could be make or break.
- Vitor Matos on how Liverpool’s youngsters are to step up next season
- Gini Wijnaldum comments are encouraging to see for Liverpool
- Report: Xherdan Shaqiri has showed no inclination to leave Liverpool
- Curtis Jones comments demonstrate why he will be invaluable next season
- Making a case for a Adama Traore Liverpool move in 2021
- How Kalidou Koulibaly’s reported Manchester City arrival could affect Liverpool next season