Marko Grujic 20 Midfielder Liverpool Serbia
Tall, rangy, athletic midfielder that has been likened to a long list of tall, rangy, athletic midfielders of note.
Born in Belgrade in 1996, Grujić made his debut for Red Star at the end of the 2012-13 season as part of an inexperienced XI that lost 3-0 at Vojvodina. Following a period on loan at Kolubara in the Serbian second tier, the lanky teenager returned to the Red Whites but did not feature for the club again until the 2014-15 season. Selected regularly as part of Nenad Lalatović's match day squad, Grujić made his fist start in the Serbian Superliga in a 2-1 victory over OFK Beograd in November 2014.
Used sparingly at club level he was a member of the Serbia squad that won the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand but really stood out during Red Star's astonishing 24 match winning run during 2015-16. Starting in the first 22 of these games, Grujić scored five times and assisted a further seven as his team romped to the title.
2016 has been...
Progressive. Sandwiched in between that incredible run of matches at Belgrade was a January transfer to Liverpool for the Serbian midfielder. Despite looking like outside chancers in a hotly contested pursuit, the personal intervention of Jürgen Klopp persuaded the teenager to choose Merseyside over the veritable pull of Milan, London or Turin. Signed and then loaned back to Red Star, Grujić played a starring role in his sides championship winning season.
Now a Liverpool player, Grujić is playing a waiting game as he learns his trade under Klopp's tutelage. So far he has appeared twice in the Premier League as a substitute and a further three times in the League Cup, two of which were starts. Remaining complimentary of the treatment he has received from a club he has described as 'welcoming' things seem to be shaping up nicely.
Called up to play for Serbia in the summer, winning three caps, it really can only be a matter of time until Grujić becomes a regular starter in the Liverpool midfield. At present there's no real need to disrupt Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Emre Can and Lucas Leiva but there will be an increasing number of opportunities for the Serbian to make his mark as injuries and suspensions start to kick in.
Coach Klopp has identified a potentially key player for the reds for several years to come and as he develops fully there's little reason to doubt that Grujic will became a formidable central midfielder. Capable of far more than just breaking up opposition attacks it's interesting to note that Klopp has asked his midfielder to focus specifically on the defensive side of the game. Tasked with bulking up in the gym, this has been a tough introduction to life at the highest level but will surely prove to be fruitful in the long term.
In Serbia, Grujić showed that he could perform in attacking positions when required but now has a clear remit on how his career will play out. He could be a huge star.
C+ In a good place
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