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2NGHBM9 Paris, France - February 14: Ryan Gravenberch of Bayern Munchen thanks supporters for standing during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 leg one match between Paris Saint-Germain and FC Bayern Munchen at Parc des Princes on February 14, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Eurasia Sport Images) (Photo by Eurasia Sport Images/Just Pictures/Sipa USA)

Where Jurgen Klopp sees Ryan Gravenberch fitting into his midfield

With a potential deal to sign Ryan Gravenberch gathering pace, where would he be most likely to slot in in the manager’s current system?

News came on Wednesday evening that the Reds are in “talks” with Bayern Munich over a deal to bring the midfielder to Anfield in the closing days of the window.

There has been some confusion among supporters about the role the Dutchman would be asked to play should he arrive, with many believing that the defensive midfield area remains the priority.

Reports earlier this month suggested that Liverpool weren’t looking to make an additional No. 6 signing this summer following the arrival of Wataru Endo.

SINGAPORE - Wednesday, August 2, 2023: Bayern Munich's substitute Ryan Gravenberch before a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and FC Bayern Munich FC at the Singapore National Stadium. Bayern won 4-3. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It was believed that the plans were to instead target a “multi-functional” midfielder, something which has been ratified by the latest reports.

Gravenberch is typically regarded as a traditional centre-midfielder, but there have been some suggestions that Liverpool believe he can be utilised from a more defensive standpoint.

The Times’ Paul Joyce has indicated that, while Gravenberch is viewed as a “left-sided No.8” by the German champions, Jurgen Klopp sees him as a “multi-functional player” who can be used in the holding role.

The Athletic’s Andy Jones highlighted his “versatility” across the midfield area as a key factor in the Reds’ decision to target the 21-year-old, while Chris Bascombe of the Telegraph hinted that he had originally been viewed as a Fabinho replacement.

It all suggests that Gravenberch’s concrete role within a Klopp side is a fluid concept, with the idea being that he can fill in in various spots as and when he is required.

2KADBEE Munich, Deutschland. 01st Nov, 2022. Ryan GRAVENBERCH (FC Bayern Munich), gesture, gives instructions, action, single image, cut single motif, half figure, half figure. Soccer Champions League/FC Bayern Munich-Inter Milan 2-0 group stage, 6th matchday on November 1st, 2022, ALLIANZAREN A. Credit: dpa/Alamy Live News

While he hasn’t spent much time operating as a defensive midfielder in the Bundesliga, the Dutchman did share his responsibilities across both the No.6 and No. 8 positions during his time at Ajax.

Gravenberch played as a defensive midfielder in 17 of his 103 appearances for Ajax and he also has experience in the role for the club’s academy and with the Netherlands.

At 6’2″ and with an aerial duels percentage of 66.7% and 64.8% across his two full seasons at Ajax, he could add a significant physical presence to the Reds’ midfield.

The Reds are said to have received the necessary “encouragement” to press ahead with the deal despite the tight timeframe in which they have to work.

Friday 11pm (BST) will bring an end to the summer transfer window, meaning the club will need to move quickly if they are to get any further business over the line.