“A very nice shirt!” – Gravenberch explains why he had Liverpool shirt on in viral 2020 photo

Ryan Gravenberch has explained the story behind an old photo of him in a Liverpool shirt that was recreated upon confirmation of his move to Anfield.

The Dutchman has signed a five-year contract in a deal worth around £38.5 million, becoming the fourth midfielder to arrive at the club this summer.

He was unveiled as a Reds player late on Friday evening with just over an hour until the transfer deadline.

The announcement came with a picture of Gravenberch perched on an exercise bike holding a phone and wearing a Liverpool shirt, similar to an image that has circulated online in recent weeks.

It had led fans to believe that the 21-year-old was a boyhood fan, but he explained the photograph in his first interview since joining the club.

“Oh, seriously? I didn’t see it,” remarked Gravenberch when questioned on the origins of the image.

“Ah, OK. Yeah, this picture, I saw it! It was a couple of years ago in the gym, I swapped a shirt with a former player from here, Ki-Jana Hoever. That was a very nice shirt.”

The shirt in question was Liverpool’s title-winning 2019/20 shirt, which came from Hoever’s final season at the club.

Hoever, who joined the Reds from Ajax’s youth academy, has crossed paths with Gravenberch at international level having earned five caps for the Netherlands U21s.

Gravenberch’s deadline-day arrival saw him become the final part of a significant overhaul in the middle of the park this summer.

He follows the signings of Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai and Wataru Endo, with five senior midfielders having made their exits.

Gravenberch was not registered in time to make his debut against Aston Villa this weekend, but he will be available to feature for the Reds after the international break.

Fans will get the first chance to see the new signing in action when Liverpool travel to Wolves on September 16, but he faces a significant battle for places.

Mac Allister and Szoboszlai have made impressive starts to their Anfield careers and his “box-to-box” description of himself indicates his preference will be to operate in those areas to begin with.