Liverpool midfielder Marko Grujic cut an enthusiastic figure after his first goal for the club away to Fleetwood Town.
Grujic’s strike set the Reds on their way to a 5-0 victory at Highbury Stadium, with the Serbian’s first-half display drawing widespread praise.
The 20-year-old was making his first appearance for the club after sealing a £5.1 million move in January, having spent the remainder of the 2015/16 campaign on loan with Red Star Belgrade.
Though something of an unknown quantity taking up the No. 16 shirt, Grujic quickly provided supporters with a glimpse of his talents.
Grujic’s powerful running and bullish physicality saw him dominate the midfield battle, winning a penalty early on and making up for Danny Ings‘ resulting miss with a goal soon after.
Speaking to the LFCTV after the game, Grujic admitted it capped a “perfect” start to life at the club.
“The game was incredible. I’m so proud of my team and my team-mates,” he said.
“My dream has come true—I feel very happy and proud!
“When I came here I wanted only to be with these guys [in the squad]. The coach has given me the chance in the first 11 and I’ve scored.
“Everything from the start has been perfect. The players are very friendly.
“I’ve had a bit of time with Lazar [Markovic] and Dejan [Lovren]. They’ve helped me, and I’m settled.”
Grujic will play a big part in Liverpool’s pre-season preparations alongside his fellow Balkans, and continuing to preview the Reds’ upcoming fixtures he insisted performance levels would rise.
Liverpool play Wigan Athletic and Huddersfield Town in two domestic friendlies before travelling to the US to take on Chelsea, AC Milan and AS Roma.
“In the next games we’ll try to get better and better,” he continued.
“Then we go to the USA for pre-season and we will play against one of the best teams.
“When we come back Barcelona [at Wembley] is a good test for us. Then we’ll start the season ready.”
Grujic’s role at Highbury on Wednesday night may have indicated his long-term position under Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool, and though 45 minutes against League One opposition is no yardstick, he underlined his ability to shine alongside his more experienced team-mates.
Looking to build on this impressive display, and a debut goal, throughout pre-season, Grujic will look to earn a regular starting role in 2016/17.