Liverpool staff see Gini “similarities” as Ryan Gravenberch role explained

Following the late signing of Ryan Gravenberch there has been debate over where he fits in at Liverpool, but staff see him similar to Gini Wijnaldum.

With Wataru Endo brought in two weeks before the transfer deadline, Jurgen Klopp had satisfied his desire to sign a new No. 6.

That did not necessarily match the expectations of fans, with many hoping for another defensive midfielder to join the Japan captain, but instead deadline day saw Gravenberch arrive.

A high-potential signing from Bayern Munich, there is no doubting the 21-year-old’s quality, but with competition rife, there could be concerns over where he fits in.

But according to The Athletic, senior recruitment staff spotted “similarities” with former Liverpool midfielder Wijnaldum in Gravenberch’s game.

It may seem a lazy comparison given they are both Dutchmen, but it holds up given the new No. 38’s ability to play a variety of roles – including deeper in midfield.

“Klopp also has [Alexis] Mac Allister, Thiago and Stefan Bajcetic as contenders for the No. 6 role and feels well-stocked,” it is explained.

“However, what Klopp did want was someone who was ‘multi-functional’ and he viewed Gravenberch as the ideal recruit.

“He can play deep if required but is viewed as most effective operating further forward.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, February 24, 2020: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates with Georginio Wijnaldum after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-2. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Wijnaldum made 237 appearances for Liverpool over five years with the majority of those being as a left-sided No. 8, typically with Fabinho as No. 6 and Jordan Henderson alongside him.

But according to Transfermarkt he also played 38 times as a defensive midfielder, 18 of those coming in his final season with the club in 2020/21.

There were occasions when Wijnaldum filled other roles, too, such as in emergency at centre-back and even as a centre-forward against Barcelona in the Champions League.

Meanwhile, Gravenberch’s time at Ajax – where he spent two full seasons in the first team – saw him make 103 appearances with 17 as a defensive midfielder.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 2, 2023: Liverpool's new signing Ryan Gravenberch before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Aston Villa FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This ability to adapt and maintain consistency wherever he was played made Wijnaldum such a vital player for Klopp – and it would be excellent if Gravenberch could replicate this.

It is likely that he joins a stable of regular midfielders along with Mac Allister, Endo, Bajcetic, Dominik Szoboszlai, Thiago, Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott.

Rather than replacing Fabinho, it seems, the club opted to recruit a number of all-rounders, with Gravenberch among those able to rotate throughout the midfield.