Hertha Berlin sporting director Michael Preetz has claimed Liverpool have approached Marko Grujic‘s future “different from last year,” with the plan to assess him closely.
Grujic has spent the past two seasons on loan with Hertha, and last summer failed to feature in a single pre-season friendly for the Reds as he stayed in Berlin.
This time around, however, after 54 appearances for the Bundesliga club, the Serbian has returned to Merseyside, and was part of the 31-man squad training in Austria last month.
The 24-year-old played 72 minutes over the two friendlies against Stuttgart and Salzburg, and was in the matchday squad for the Community Shield defeat to Arsenal on Saturday.
It has been widely reported that Liverpool are willing to part ways with Grujic on a permanent basis this summer, but explaining the situation, Preetz said that the Reds had expressly outlined their desire to assess the midfielder in training.
“It was different from last year. It was Liverpool’s declared wish that Marko should take part in much of the preparation there,” he told Kicker.
“Then there will certainly be a decision in England about Marko’s immediate future.
“Will he be loaned out again? Is he for sale? Will he be part of the Liverpool team?
“That cannot be foreseen at the moment.”
The prospect of keeping Grujic is an interesting one, as so far it has been assumed that this summer would mark the end of his four-and-a-half-year association with Liverpool.
That is still likely to be the case, particularly as the Reds are looking to trim down their midfield ranks with a view to signing Thiago from Bayern Munich, but whether an acceptable offer for Grujic emerges remains to be seen.
It was previously reported that Hertha were front-runners for a deal, though Goal‘s Neil Jones added that Eintracht Frankfurt, Borussia Monchengladbach, Atalanta, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa are all interested.
Liverpool value Grujic at £20 million, and with the player tied down until 2023, they will hope to be in a position to hit that price tag if talks do take place.
For now, Grujic has joined up with the Serbia national team for their UEFA Nations League clashes with Russia (Sep 3) and Turkey (Sep 6), which will deprive him of further time working with Klopp at Melwood.
On paper, the lofty midfielder could serve as an able deputy to Fabinho in the No. 6, where he has played so far in pre-season, but with six other senior options already on the books, and Thiago possibly to join, competition for places is rife.
Unless Grujic has caught Klopp’s eye with his application throughout the summer so far, Preetz could be boosted by a decision for the player to part ways with Liverpool before October 5.