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“He is a top-class player” – Marko Grujic’s pathway to Liverpool first team explained

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Liverpool U23s manager Neil Critchley has outlined Jurgen Klopp‘s plan for midfielder Marko Grujic, who has started just three games for the club.

Grujic joined the Reds at the start of 2016, linking up with Klopp’s squad after spending the remainder of the 2015/16 on loan with Red Star Belgrade.

Since making the switch to Merseyside, however, the youngster is yet to fully establish himself at first-team level, despite possession a hulking physicality as one of Klopp’s biggest players.

It is his mental and technical approach that require fine-tuning, and as Critchley told of Grujic’s stint with the U23s, this is the objective Klopp has laid out.

“A couple of weeks ago we had an in-house game at Melwood and the manager spoke to me and said Marko has made big strides but maybe nobody has seen that because it’s not visible,” he said.

“So he wanted him to play for the U23s when the opportunity arises, and feels it is important for his development.

“I have to say, the games that Marko has played for us, he has done very well in.

“You can see he is a top-class player and what I like about him, and I’ve not been in his company too many times, is he is a very humble boy.

“He listens and he asks you questions. He has got a really good attitude and he is a good boy to work with.

“And if we can help him get closer to the first team then that’s our job.”

BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND - Wednesday, July 12, 2017: Liverpool's Marko Grujic in action against Tranmere Rovers during a preseason friendly match at Prenton Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Standing at 6’3″ and considerably fleshed out since joining Liverpool, Grujic should dominate most games at U23 level.

But Critchley continued to attest how this belies his youth, as at just 21, he cannot be expected to walk straight into Klopp’s first team and shine.

“Because of the size of him, his stature, he is such a big lad and an impressive person to look at, he’s a man, but you do forget he is still young,” he explained.

“He needs support and he needs guidance, and if we can help him in any way we can, because he’s played in a few first-team games, then great.

“As the manager said, sometimes the development can go a little bit under the radar. He will see that because he is working every day with him on the training pitch.

“Sometimes it might not be as visible to supporters but I’m sure Marko in the future will be a really good player for this football club.”

Because of his stature, Grujic is perhaps given less leeway from Liverpool supporters than the likes of Ben Woodburn and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

But still able to turn out for the U23s for another two years, it is clear there is room for development for the young midfielder, who is still getting to grips with English football.

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