Marko Grujic was back in the Liverpool team for only the second time in three years.
Amid reported interest from Borussia Mönchengladbach [Goal] and Hertha Berlin, this was both a chance for Grujic to convince manager Jurgen Klopp to pick him more often and to put himself in the shop window.
Grujic’s performance was hugely impressive considering he is a fairly unproven figure in this Liverpool team despite signing for the club back in January 2016.
What he did well
Grujic was extremely effective in possession and was Liverpool’s bravest outlet on the ball, constantly looking to take the game to the opposition and make things happen.
He was desperately unlucky not to score having been thwarted by Bernd Leno on several occasions.
In fact, Grujic attempted more than double the number of shots (7) to his Liverpool teammates with the Serbian international taking confidence from his first goal for the club last week against Lincoln City.
On the ball, the 24-year-old was a class act, and he boasted a pass success rate of 88 per cent, which again was more than any other of his Reds teammate.
Defensively, he was just as influential, making five tackles and three interceptions while winning three of his offensive aerial duels according to WhoScored.
With a bit more composure, Grujic would have got himself a goal against Arsenal, but this was another encouraging performance.
Just to be getting into these forward positions was a good sign and Grujic’s attacking intent was good to see.
How can he improve?
The big question mark over Grujic is whether he can deliver for Liverpool in the big moments.
While he showcased his attacking intent and desire to get forward, only two of his seven attempted shots were actually recorded on target.
This demonstrates that although Grujic demonstrated bravery in his approach to innovate a breakthrough for his team, he needs to be more effective with the ball if he is to stake a claim in Klopp’s regular PL set-up.
This may be overly critical but, the harsh reality is that even following such an impressive performance from Grujic, it will take significantly more from the Serb if he is going to threaten to disrupt Klopp’s midfield plans.
The issue for Grujic is that he did not do enough to displace any of the likes of Fabinho, Naby Keita or Georginio Wijnaldum for this weekend, and with the international break upcoming, he could face another month’s wait until his next Liverpool game.
While his future remains in doubt given his persistent transfer links, Grujic has demonstrated that he is an extremely talented player in the two cameo appearances he has made in the past seven days and he certainly can hold his head high.
After all, it could very well have been his last ever Liverpool match with the transfer deadline just days away.
Grujic’s performance prompted a positive response from Liverpool supporters and many feel he could make Klopp consider twice before sanctioning a deal for the player to leave…
What a performance tonight. He was really good and all over the place…
— THIAGO 🔥🔥🔥 (@MukhtarJibril10) October 1, 2020
I hope Klopp keeps him.
— Joe (@kneyo) October 1, 2020
Hope no one coming to buy him so he can stay
— mspinkmy (@mspinkmyy) October 1, 2020
could definitely be a backup for Fabinho if we need a physical #6 in there. Very good game from him.
— ZenWayofLife (@ZenWayof) October 1, 2020
Thought Grujic staked a claim tonight #LFC
— Jason Curley (@JasonCurley6) October 1, 2020
Decent performance I thought! Both Williams’ played really well!! I’d like Grujic to stay, especially if Fab is going to play more games at CB, Taki starting to play well and Jota looked really good! #LFC
— JakeTucker96 (@Tucker96Jake) October 1, 2020
Grujic did impress me tonight. He seems to be a potent combination of being tall and strong but also quite assured in possession.
— J 🇮🇪 (@AjoLFC) October 1, 2020