Marko Grujic has joined Porto on a season-long loan, but is said to still be hoping for a long-term role at Liverpool, with a chance to prove himself in the Champions League.
Grujic made a late switch to the Primeira Liga champions on Tuesday night, after the transfer deadline for most leagues across European had already passed.
The Portuguese window stayed open, which allowed Porto to seal a swift trio of Premier League loans for players previously unable to secure moves.
First came Malang Sarr, from Chelsea, while West Ham‘s Felipe Anderson completed a season-long loan shortly before Grujic’s was confirmed at 10.30pm.
This is the fifth loan spell of Grujic’s time at Liverpool, and turning 25 this season, common sense would suggest that this will precede a permanent exit next summer – particularly given the club were already willing to sell.
But according to The Athletic’s James Pearce, the Serbian “hasn’t given up hope of making it” at Anfield, with this latest temporary move working to “keep that dream alive.”
The move has been well-received by most Liverpool fans, with Grujic in strong stock on Merseyside but, with eight senior midfielders ahead of him in Jurgen Klopp‘s squad, there being no room for him this season.
Great move for him. Champions League football and there's a space to fill in the Porto midfield following the departure of Pereira to PSG. Grujic still hasn't given up hope of making it at #LFC and this loan keeps that dream alive for him.
— James Pearce (@JamesPearceLFC) October 6, 2020
I’m really pleased for Grujic, deserves to be playing week in week out. The Liverpool he joined isn’t the Liverpool of now. Did alright at Hertha, considering the mess they were in at times, and they wanted him back! Should do well at Porto. https://t.co/2dwfZEzUaI
— Chris Williams (@Chris78Williams) October 6, 2020
Marko Grujic gone to Porto?? Cracking move for him.
— David Hickman (@DavidHickman87) October 6, 2020
Porto is a very good move for Marko Grujic. A step up in quality from Hertha Berlin club-wise and at Porto he gets to play in the Champions League. Can’t help but think Pep Lijnders has had a key role in this deal with his connections since working for Porto.
— Maxi (@MaaxiAngelo) October 6, 2020
Sensible decision letting Grujic join Porto on loan. Would have been a shame if he hasn't been able to play football until January.
— Jonathan Higgins (@Jhiggins3) October 6, 2020
Marko Grujic will just smash it at Porto. He will get plenty of games to play and will only get better there. Likely replacement of Danilo Perreira.
Agent Grujic to destroy Man City in the Champions League.
— Utkarsh Jos (@UtkarshJos) October 6, 2020
Heading to Porto is certainly a better move for Grujic than spinning his wheels at Melwood for three months, with the 24-year-old likely to have been omitted from Liverpool’s Premier League and Champions League squads.
Now, Grujic can test himself in the Champions League, with Porto to play Man City first on October 21 in a group that also includes Olympiakos and Marseille.
And while it seems unlikely, it could be that a place in Klopp’s squad opens up next summer, particularly if the midfielder impresses throughout the campaign in Portugal.
With Gini Wijnaldum due to depart on the expiry of his contract next summer, and James Milner entering the final year of his deal ahead of 2021/22, Klopp could reconsider Grujic’s future.
There were positive signs in his two appearances in the League Cup, and with the promise of a first game in the Champions League since coming off the bench for the final five minutes of Liverpool’s 3-0 win over Maribor in 2017, Grujic could make the next step this season.