Marko Grujic reveals his Liverpool role, hints at Lazar Markovic’s future

on 24.02.2016

Speaking ahead of his summer move to Merseyside, Marko Grujic has explained how Jurgen Klopp sees him as a box-to-box midfielder at Liverpool.


Grujic has spent much of his career at Red Star Belgrade in a deep-lying midfield role, but has since been move forward into the No. 10 position, with manager Miodrag Bozovic utilising his power and long-range shooting ability.

But when the 19-year-old makes his move to Liverpool this summer, he is likely to be moved back into more familiar territory.

Grujic’s £5.1 million switch was set in motion by a phone call from Klopp, with the German detailing his plans for his development at the club.

“He did most of the talking and told me about the plans that he had for me,” the midfielder told Serbian outlet Blic.

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“His vision is that I should be something between a No. 6 and a No. 10. What they call a box-to-box midfielder.

“My only request was that I didn’t want to be loaned out, I just want to play for Liverpool.

“He was very open, told me about how he sees my development.

“When a coach like that calls you on the phone personally, that’s the greatest privilege.

“That call really cemented my desire to join Liverpool.

“He is famous as someone who likes to work with young players. He has made Subotic, Lewandowski, Kagawa.”

KINGSTON-UPON-HULL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, April 28, 2015: Liverpool's Lazar Markovic in action against Hull City during the Premier League match at the KC Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Another young player who could join Grujic in Klopp’s developmental plans is Lazar Markovic, with the Serbia international set to return to Liverpool after a season-long loan with Fenerbahce.

Klopp was reportedly keen on recalling the winger during the January transfer window, but the terms of his deal with the Turkish club made this impossible.

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Grujic continued to explain how Markovic played a key role in convincing him to move to Liverpool, suggesting that not all is lost for the 21-year-old.

“I spoke with Lazar Markovic and he told me good things about the club,” he said.

“He told me that Liverpool is a great club, that the pressure and expectations are enormous, and that the first two to three months are the most important.

‘I will have to prove myself during that period and show my qualities.

“I will have to show what I am made of. I am very confident.”


Grujic also told how his “heart almost stopped” on meeting the Liverpool squad at Melwood, with Dejan Lovren influential in helping him settle.

“Dejan Lovren really cheered me up and impressed me. He is good friends with Lazar,” he continued.

“He welcomed me with the words: ‘Is it finally over? We Balkan boys have to stick together!’.”

Now aiming to finish off the season in style with Red Star, and bulk up ahead of a tough first season in the Premier League—”I want to be able to go into a duel with anyone”—Grujic will endear himself to supporters with his closing statement.

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“I would choose Liverpool over Real Madrid and Barcelona. I love them!” he said.

“I love the Premier League because of the energy and the atmosphere.”

The stage is set for Grujic to shine in the Premier League, and Klopp may be hoping that Markovic will be operating alongside him.

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  1. So he is not going to be loaned out…. looks like he might be eased into the first team like emre can (hopefully not at CB/RB though)…

    With Hendo, Can, Milner, Lucas, Grujic and the academy kids in and the rumoured interest in Camacho, one wonders what this means for Allen….

    • He will be sold, I can See Grujic taking over from Lucas as the defensive pivot, with Can or Henderson alongside, Milner might struggle as well.

      • I worry for Henderson at the moment. If he can’t shake off this injury that he’s obviously carrying I think Klopp may believe he could find an upgrade.

        • I did in deed, and as per Busquets at Barca, in Europe they define the defense pivot as a box to box role, with Henderson and Can as more box to box in the English sense I can see him sitting deeper. Just my opinion seeing that you are intent on commenting on all my comments.

          • Yes but I can see Klopp playing a more fluid system than the typical DM. If he used 2 at the base it will be 2 of Can, Henderson or Grujic, and in a 4 3 3 he has 3 athletic midfielders that can interchange and cover when one bombs forward

      • I don’t see Grugic as a DM to be honest, the only way Lucas will leave is if we buy an out and out DM or maybe Stewart or Brannagan come really good but right now Lucas is the only authentic DM we have on the books….

          • Henderson (when fully fit) is wasted at DM and Can is more of a CM, both can cover it I guess but it’s far from ideal…

    • Not much to wonder really..he looks a bit dead on to be sold. Between him and Lucas atleast one will most likely leave the club.

    • honestly, I think Klopp prefers Allen over Hendo. I hope and with all due respect to hendo, Klopp chooses a different captain. Noone has proved it more than Sakho. Good friends with Stevie, a warrior, does a lot off the field, visiting kids and hospitals, fights for the club, and generally is a good role model. Once Hendo looses the captaincy, it will be hard to see him in the starting lineup. Grujic was not a TC signing, he was hand picked by Klopp and Co, I don’t see Can Benching next season, I can only imagine Grujic will slot in alongside him. If we do sign another top class midfielder, I don’t see Hendo getting in the starting line up at all.

      • I don’t know about Klopp preference of Allen over Hendo, i haven’t seen that, but i agree with you that Hendo should be stripped of the captaincy shouldn’t have got it in the first place.

        • from what Ive seen, allen fits Klopps system more that what Hendo does and is more tactically suited. and I feel that if both were fit and ready and Henderson was not captain, he would choose Allen… just my opinion, don’t go all crazy on me now. we all have our own opinions

          • But remember that Allen played more of a defensive role, as compared to Hendo who played mostly in an attacking role, Hendo also runs more, he is also a better goal threat than Allen.

        • Ideally your captain should be a nailed on absolutely certain starter and the first name on the team sheet so in reality we don’t have too many standout candidates..

          • In addition Steve, A captain should lead by example, a captain should be the player team mates look up to in a game when the going gets tough, to change it with his abilities, a captain end products should be consistent, Hendo possesses none of those attributes.

          • I’ve got some sympathy with Hendo, he’s obviously suffering with the ongoing heel problem, before that and when fully fit he was doing a reasonable job, I miss his energy and his current form is a big concern. I’m not sure who else you could give it to right now to be honest…

    • He is definitely out. Hope Milner too but less likely. I would prefer rossi and Kevin to learn and develop right from the next game than play James 7 Milner.

  2. Good lad. Welcome. You appear to have a good head on your shoulders to go along with your considerable footballing talent. I see a very bright future here.

  3. Article of nothing but positives! Btw the words about Markovic goes to show that he did his part in getting the player out here as well and that him saying bad things about LFC is a bit off the mark…he has a right to be frustrated being loaned out after the first season which wasn’t the worst performance – greater potential than Ibe and he had his good moments in the season as well.

    Respect to both Marko and Lovren in helping with the move and helping him settle after initial nerves.

      • A lot of money is made by agents when transfers happen, and it would not be a surprise if Bodgers has been receiving kickbacks. That’s why he signed so many bang average players at exorbitant prices. Also, why is he deliberately playing players in the wrong positions (as if throwing games on instruction from bookies), signing the wrong players, and loaning wingers out etc. that created an inbalance in the team structure? He is either totally clueless or he is corrupted. (oh, not forgetting he was moonlighting in his property business while being paid a salary by LFC).

        • I think you’ve overdone it here a bit, to be honest. Rodgers is an inexperienced mid-table manager, with no trophies to his name, and very limited knowledge, but I think it’s ridiculous to accuse him of throwing games and earning off selling players. You could see in his interviews that he’s genuinely clueless.

          • Well, he is truly and genuinely clueless then.

            ps: It’s actually not hard to fathom he would do all those things, since he had the audacity to seduce his married colleague with kid, and moonlight in his property business, while earning a salary from the club.

      • I think what probably happened is that he talked to Rodgers, and asked to be played more in his natural position (classic winger, or No.10), or else to be allowed to leave. So naturally Rodgers sent him away, rather than to see some sense in playing a player in his natural position.

    • I still don’t think he insulted LFC in anyway. It was all towards brogers and people who convinced him to join but failed to protect hi him.

  4. “My only request was that I didn’t want to be loaned out, I just want to play for Liverpool.”
    That tickled me. Lazar must of tipped him off.

  5. To be honest all this transfer rumours, signing players, interview is like meeting a girl, thinking about her, getting to know her to me. Oh football what have you done to me.

    Come strong next season and kick that Paris Hilton and Lady Gaga out of Liverpool Marko, I mean Allen and Milner.

  6. Hoping to scrape into next years EL shows how hapless Rodgers was in the transfer mkt. RB was a million times better manager.

    • quite, was a young lad ~ is stilll a young lad ~ in a foreign land, totally different language, food, culture, everything else too and BR didn’t appear to treat him too well, no wonder we didn’t see the best of him !! ~ somehow I don’t think that will be the case with Klopp.

          • he was a scapegoat i cannot recall what game it was but we lost i would not have even put it down to him and that was it he did not get a look in under ridgers again

          • Maybe not you dude but other fellow fans were constantly on the poor kids’ case. Such a revisionist bunch. Makes me feel sick.

          • It made absolutely no sense to cut short his two year loan and left us pretty threadbare in that position…

          • Yeah, something like that, thinking about it there’s no reason why a good wing back can’t do that as well but that requires a back three which isn’t Klopps way, I see Marko more as a conventional winger/wide player…

          • If he can manage to get a cross in every once in a while, he’ll already be miles ahead of Ibe.

    • he doesn´t seem to be a dreamer, well knowing that in their current formations it will be hard to break into the starting XI. far more competition than currently at LFC where the reshuffle under new management brings a clear chance to make his mark.

    • I know he said this but come on, he had just signed for Liverpool, what else was he gonna say ‘oh yeah I’d really like to play for Barca or Real one day’…he was never gonna say that!!

  7. Teenagers coming into the league with price tags and expectation too early in their career can be a detrimental thing. I don’t like what United are doing with Martial for example. LVG said he was for his successor yet mounts huge expectation and pressure on the lad.

    Klopp’s approach to youngsters is excellent.. Breaks them in nicely and they grow into their roles. Hopefully he can replicate this in the media frenzied England.

    As for this lad, not sure what he offers but clearly Klopp sees something there. Whether he’ll be a success is anyone’s guess.

    Although competition in that role within our team isn’t that great. Hendo,Allen, Milner, Can , Lucas, etc..are naturally average players imo.

    They can excel now and then but overall don’t have the natural ability hence why we get mixed performances from the lot. Too often, we overrun in midfield and lack creativity. This position evolves so quick in the modern game, it’s difficult to find a suited player for the role.

    As far as Markovich is concerned, he’s another lightweight Lallana imo. Needs to impose himself more often to nail down a position in the starting 11.

  8. The lad seems to have just the right attitude, it shouldn’t be forgotten he’s only 19 years old but a full preseason and the club tours will help him settle in, what a bonus it would be if his mate Lazar can show us why we paid £20 mil for him as well, I’m pretty sure Klopp will give him the chance..

    • i would have expected him to do a lot more in the turkish league to show he was worth 20 million ,for me he had 1 good game for lfc ,yes young and a new country but still for 20 million you would expect more

      • I’m inclined to agree with you, it’s going to be a make or break season for him, assuming he’s still here of course…
        I would like to see him given the chance though…

      • I reckon he should have stayed at Liverpool and continued his development rather than loan him to a foreign land, totally different language, food, culture and everything. Such decision can stall a players development.

          • I was eating kleftico last night (lamb shank cooked in a clay oven) washed down with a bottle of Turkish red, not an aubergine in sight but the wild asparagus was good…
            The 120 proof after dinner ‘Arak’ wasn’t such a smart idea though…

        • The whole thing made very little sense…I’m usually not as critical of Rodgers as many on this site, but this has to be in his top 5 poor decisions overall.

          • Especially considering that (1) BR already sold the only remaining established winger in Sterling, and (2) presumably 4-3-3 was his preferred formation (you can’t play 4-3-3 without 2 wingers), and (3) Benteke, an early signing, needs services from wingers to thrive.

          • Except that it was Lazar that wanted to be loaned out, and since Rodgers was not gonna give him the playtime he wanted/needed, loaning is the best option, and Rodgers concurred with that decision.

        • He wanted regular play time, and he needed that to continue his development. Should have been a british club though.

          Not playing would have stalled his development.

      • The only thing we need to know is that – he was a perfect buy according to the numbers on the FSG moneyball spreadsheet.

      • Agreed though being pulled at half time didn’t help his confidence. One of my only criticisms of Rodgers. Mind you, you guys all hated Markovic. Amusing how much love there is for him now.

          • Wow, ‘a clown’ that was yesterday by the way, I thought we were ‘hyenas’ today…
            I’m going to indulge you on this one, how does my comment that “next season could be make or break for the lad but I hope he’s given an opportunity” make me a clown, I think it’s fair, honest and pretty much the way it is…
            There’s nothing to suggest I’ll be slagging him off next year, where did you get from..
            You might want to drop the name calling by the way, people might take you more seriously..

          • If you think next season is make or break for him, it kind of indicates that you are ready to write him off after one season, and think that is the way to go about it. Which in turn means you will turn on him, if “he breaks”.

            That doesn’t really harmonize with you stating, “He is only 19”.

            I think Diego is trying to remind people to back the players more than they do.

          • My ‘only 19’ comment related to Grujic, and he is..
            And next season is make or break for Lazar, I hope he makes it because I think he has real potential but if he doesn’t I think it’s possible we’ll cash in on him..
            Your first paragraph is complete and utter rubbish by the way and couldn’t be further from the truth…

          • If you feel that it is make or break it for a young player at 21, that have played the role of a young back up, and loaned out to get regular football, you are setting yourself up to be everything MightyDiego claims you are.

            If you feel it is rubbish, perhaps you should activate your synapses so you can harmonize it with what you want it to mean. As it stands you are giving a 21 year old one more season to prove himself, when he is naturally far from his prime. Surely you’d arm yourself with more patience for a youngster with great potential, whether it should be labelled “Make or break it”.

          • You’re putting your own inaccurate spin on ‘make or break’ especially when we don’t know for sure if he’ll back at the club next season. By the way you’re also ignoring the fact that I said I hoped he would and that he’d get his opportunities and that my original question to your buddy was ‘why would you assume I’ll be slating him next season’ I won’t, I hope he turns out to be as good as we hoped he would be. I’m still waiting for one of you to answer that. By the way, admittedly I’ve only watched ‘fenner’ three times this season and I’m still undecided on how good Lazar is or can be but I’m assuming you’ve seen a lot more of him in the Turkish Super Lig than I have…

          • I think you misunderstand his message. I am pretty sure I relayed it earlier.

            I am pretty sure he wrote this, “You clowns will all be slating him in year’s time.”. Meaning you will turn on him, as your expectancy is beyond what can be it should be, as your expectency is related to his price tag. Considering you give him only a year to “make or break it”, means you are considering he should be given the snub, if he doesn’t live up to something special in this one years time.

            It is pretty needless to say he will be given a chance. Of course he will. He has a contract until 2019, and is still very young.

          • I think you might be putting too harsh an interpretation on my ‘make or break’ term so let’s just agree it’s a very big/important season for him.
            Regarding his contract, at the end of next season he’ll only have two years left to run, I would expect a decision being made then as to whether it’s extended, if Klopp after working with him for a full season doesn’t consider he’ll fit in with his long term plans I would expect the club to sell him as opposed to letting his contract run down and his sell on value diminish. Just to reiterate, I want him to be a success, I want all of our players to be a success. If Lazar does his best for the club and works hard for us but doesn’t make it I won’t snub him, I’ll wish him well, but I hope it doesn’t come to that (it was being told that I’d slate him that got my heckles up) can we leave it at that…

          • Silence. People hold me in high regard no matter what I call them – just ask Joe Bloggs. He loves me!

  9. “Grujic’s £5.1 million switch was set in motion by a phone call from Klopp…That call really cemented my desire to join Liverpool.”

    That’s what I meant last year, that a world class manager will pay for himself – better players at lower prices and we are going to win more. And it reinforces the fact that managers do get very involved in scouting and signing of players.

    It’s boring to reiterate, but worth doing it. Mediocre clowns like Bodgers cannot attract any big names. Bodgers himself said he spent many hours in a hotel room with Dele Alli and failed. But he did successfully convinced Balotelli that he could do what other managers couldn’t. Yet he blamed the Transfer Committee when he himself previously said “I have the first and final say on all transfers”. Liar. Clown.

    • To be fair it was the TC who failed with Alli. Alli wanted to join but the TC wouldn’t pay him more than an U-21 wage.

        • rodgers said it in his interview the one where he cleared himself of any blame at the mess he left the club in
          the one that he stage managed so that he was only asked questions he had pre agreed to answer there was not one awkward question for him in that interview

        • It depends on what you want to believe. A boyhood red, who’s hero was Gerrard, doesn’t come to Liverpool? He openly wanted to come, his manager at the time ensured Liverpool were kept up to date about his progress. It can’t be Rodgers who messed it up, as much as we can blame him for our failures I don’t believe this one was him

          • Your right. None of us definitively know what the absolute truth is, but I thought the general consensus was that it was the transfer committee who didn’t see enough value in alli, rather than Rodgers failing to convince him to come (which I would have thought was Ayre’s job anyway).

          • I don’t think we’ll know what happened behind the scenes with the TC till FSG leave and players and ambassadors start speaking up about it. People believe what they want and what makes them feel better. But we can all say is Delle Alli was a huge miss. He was everything we need and wanted when looking for a new midfielder
            Amazingly talented
            A boyhood red
            British – and I mean that in the best way just because it makes it that bit more special.
            Plays like Stevie.

          • No one expected him to be a starter let alone a crucial cog in a title challenger side. His rise has been a big shock to everyone.

          • Yeah missing out on all I was a mistake, but hindsight is a wonderful thing and is a thing that magnified that mistake. Nobody batted an eye at the time but that’s the way it goes when you buy player that young. You win some you lose some. Alli was a loss that no one expected but Gomez was a gain that no one expected. Let’s hope grujic turns out to be even better than dele!

          • perspective rec.

            also we don’t know that Alli didn’t choose to go to spurs rather than to us. He’s lived down that way most of his life.

        • it is understood Liverpool’s American owners regarded 19 year old Alli, quickly emerging as one of the stand-out stars in the Premier League, to be just a promising Under-21 prospect and were going to pay him accordingly — about £4,000 a week.

      • but rodger wanted Dempsey , and ashley williams.. Omg dempsey in place of cout.. can u imagine??? cout is a tc signing

  10. You have to love his attitude!

    I personally can’t wait for next season when Klopp finally has the chance to use his players and gets a pre season to prepare the squad properly

  11. That’s more like it, Jack. At least in my book.

    1. Liverpool FC is huge.
    2. Jurgen Klopp is huge.
    3. Markovi? will probably be back at LFC next season.
    4. It’s Henderson, Can, Milner and Branagan who will get some more competition by Gruji?’s arrival.
    5. The squad will have a new member, young, talented, multi-functional, with the right attitude, a real fighter in the middle of the park, with a knack for scoring goals.

  12. Reading an article like this gets me excited for what JK has planned for us, this week is our make or break week in terms of how the season will go, for me Sunday’s match is the most important of all.

  13. I absolutely love this guy. Height, pace, power, shooting, long passing, skillful, dribbling, composure, Henderson or Can, who is sitting, decision starts now!!! With Stewart sniffing around too, could be both.

    • Our midfield options have improved dramatically since the turn of the year, we’ve got academy players showing that they could well break into the first team as well as some players on loan (including Grujic) who could well have big roles to play at LFC next season, suddenly our midfield could easily be our greatest source of strength and depth!!

    • Showing your worth can take time for a 20 year old, as he was then. He was bought for 20 mil due to potential. Potential… If you know what that means.

  14. Good interview. Positive sound. Except….
    “My only request was that I didn’t want to be loaned out, I just want to play for Liverpool.

    Excerpt from the first interview given by Grujic to LFC TV.
    We know you’re going back to Red Star on loan until the end of the season. Will that be important in helping you prepare for Liverpool?

    Yes, I must now concentrate on finishing my job. When I was a child, I dreamt of winning the championship with my club and now I am so close, I want to finish the season with my Red Star family – and then I can concentrate 100 per cent on my job at Liverpool.

    Seems he’s forgotten what he said earlier!

    • I kind of thought the same as you, but I think the purchase and the loan for the rest of the season is the only way Red star would have sold him when they did, he’ll probably be getting more playing time than he’d have at LFC initially too and it gives him a chance to learn English etc ready for his big move, so in the long term it’s probably the best way for him and LFC at his stage of development.

      • No, no, that’s fair. I completly agree with you on the road map of his development. I was merely pointing out the contradiction in the two interviews he gave.

        • I think he meant that he didn’t want to be treated like Markovic or like Chelsea treats their youth (i.e., loaning them out around Europe). From my understanding, it was important for him to win the Championship with Red Star before he joined Liverpool. Once he joins, he doesn’t want to be loaned out again.

  15. Rodgers loaning of Markovic was another poor decision. It takes a full year at least for a young guy in a new country to settle. Sending him off to Turkey, having to move again, although close to Serbia, was just a waste of time we could have used to further develop the guy. We’re basically sh*te now so what would it have hurt having him and letting him see a run of games and get some comfort. Absolutely shocking player development.

  16. Seems like klopp also doesn’t want a true DM, rather a box to box man (oooooeerrrr missus) or pair (!?) To handle defensive duties. Very like BR and generally not what works in the PL.

  17. I like the fact that Klopp has young talent coming in. He can mold for to fit his system. Problem with LFC’s play right now is that the ball movement is not nearly fast enough with player coming always coming back for the ball and not enough slashing runs. Watching the kids play against the West Ham the first game was the fastest I’ve seen the ball move and we were counter attacking in numbers.
    That being said I think BR never really gave Lazar a chance to develop last campaign. He had some flashes of brilliance then again he would give the ball away because at times he looked lost out there. That comes from not being coached properly though. So I’m excited that Klopp wants to bring him back.
    Marko, from what I saw, is a big physical player who uses his body well with moderate vision good ball control moving forward. Problem is he has 3 years left to (phsycal) growth left. Matip is a quality 1V1 defender who is also physical and has speed. He does tend to give up a lot of fouls though. Eitherway It’s going to take time for these player to integrate, but the upside is huge as long as the faithful keeps their trust in Klopp.

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