Liverpool midfielder Marko Grujic is hoping for more chances to impress Jurgen Klopp this season, and prove he is “ready for the biggest games.”
It has been a frustrating Reds career for Grujic to date, with the 21-year-old limited to just 11 appearances since his debut at Burnley last August.
Injuries have played their part, but the Serb has also found himself down the midfield pecking order, behind the likes of Jordan Henderson, Emre Can, Gini Wijnaldum and Adam Lallana.
Klopp spoke highly of Grujic before Tuesday’s 2-0 League Cup defeat to Leicester City, with the manager saying his midfielder had taken “a big step” in terms of his progress.
The former Red Star Belgrade youngster was flattered by Klopp’s praise, and believes he is ready to play a more prominent role for Liverpool this season.
“It was good to hear. I’ve got to keep believing in myself and keep working hard,” Grujic told the Liverpool Echo.
“But like I said we’re still playing Champions League, FA Cup and the Premier League, so we will need to show the power of the squad and we will need every player.
“I had a good pre-season this year, played some games to get ready and have been playing for the U23s.
“Like every player I hope that I will start more games and hope I can show the manager and everybody else that I’m ready for the biggest games in a Liverpool shirt.
“I hope that I’ll get the chance to start more games.”
Reflecting on the disappointing loss to the Foxes in midweek, Grujic rued the Reds’ missed chances, but remains positive about how their season will unfold.
“We played well in the first half at Leicester and had more chances than them. We created a lot but we didn’t score unfortunately,” he added.
“We’ve got to keep going, keep creating these chances and the goals will definitely come, hopefully in the next game.
“The season is a long one and we’ll have a lot of games. What’s most important is that we keep faith and hope because we have a really strong team.”
Competition for places in the middle of the park is fierce at Anfield currently, but Grujic should be given opportunities to shine in the approaching weeks and months.
He is unlikely to force himself into the team as a regular, but with rotation expected because of Premier League and Champions League commitments, we should see plenty of him.
The youngster’s physicality and box-to-box ability make him a good option to have, and hopefully, the rawness to his games will continue to disappear the more playing time he is afforded.