New midfield signing Marko Grujic has received a work permit to play for Liverpool, but could still miss Friday’s friendly against Tranmere Rovers.
The 20-year-old signed from Red Star Belgrade in January, but spent the rest of the 2015/16 campaign on loan with the Serbian side.
Joining up with Jurgen Klopp‘s squad for pre-season training this month, the midfielder required a work permit in order to be eligible for selection.
But after a hearing on Monday, Grujic has now received international clearance, and is set to take up a regular role in Klopp’s squad in 2016/17.
Klopp is said to have provided a glowing testimony of Grujic’s value, likely citing the £5.1 million fee required to take him to Merseyside from Red Star, along with his recent debut for the Serbia national team.
Grujic will wear the No. 16 shirt, despite being previously pictured wearing the No. 37—initially sparking rumours of Martin Skrtel’s impending exit.
But while Grujic’s work permit is a boost for Klopp as he plans for pre-season, the midfielder may be unavailable against Tranmere on Friday night.
Liverpool take on Gary Brabin’s side at Prenton Park as they begin a nine-game warmup schedule, but with Grujic having to leave the country and return for his work permit to come into effect, he is likely to be absent.
Klopp is already without Emre Can, Joe Allen, Jordan Henderson and James Milner due to their international commitments, leaving Lucas Leiva, Kevin Stewart, Cameron Brannagan and Pedro Chirivella as options for his starting midfield against the Wirral-based side.
Grujic is set to operate as a box-to-box midfielder under Klopp, and association with the No. 16 and former Reds star Dietmar Hamann will no doubt capture the imaginations of supporters.
Liverpool FC pre-season 2016/17 dates:
- July 8 – Tranmere Rovers (a) 7pm BST
- July 13 – Fleetwood Town (a) 7pm BST
- July 17 – Wigan Athletic (a) 4pm BST
- July 20 – Huddersfield Town (a) 7.45pm BST
- July 27 – Chelsea (Rose Bowl; Pasadena) 8:30pm PST (4.30am BST, July 28)
- July 30 – AC Milan (Levi’s Stadium; Santa Clara) 7pm PST (3am BST, July 31)
- Aug 1 – Roma (Busch Stadium; St. Louis) 7.30pm CT (1.30am BST, Aug 2)
- August 6 – Barcelona (Wembley) 5pm BST
- August 7 – Mainz (a) 2.45pm BST