Who is Marko Grujić?
Marko Grujić is a product of Red Star Belgrade youth system academy famous for having produced and still producing many great Serbian Internationals like Nemanja Vidić, Dejan Stanković, Filip Đorđević, Boško Janković and Marko Pantelić. He made his professional debut for “Zvezda” on 26 May 2013, in a league fixture against Vojvodina Novi Sad. Up to the 2015 season, he played simultaneously with Red Star and lower-tier FK Kolubara on dual registration. He was one of the youngest Serbia players at the U-20 World Cup 2015, where he managed to make 5 appearances and help “The Young Eagles” to win the whole tournament.
This player has already created waves of his name and is already being compared to Anfield legend Steven Gerrard in England, Paul Pogba in Italy and Nemanja Matic in Serbia and has been bought by the reds for £5.1m yesterday.
Style of Play:
Grujić is a natural playmaker/creative number “8” who likes to play through balls. He often plays the ball off the ground and just like Reds Legend Gerrard likes to shoot from distance. The youngster tends to find himself best in positional attack and likes to come deep to get the ball and dictate tempo and also likes to orchestrate play with his passing and creativity. He can play as a deep lying playmaker as he likes to hold on to the ball and assess passing options on the move with constantly asking for the ball and often is an additional passing option in the third quarter. He has an excellent range of passing with high number of touches and passes per game. Also carries exceptional precision when shooting and is very confident on the ball.
A box-to-box player with a good engine rather than an out-and-out attacking or defensive midfielder, Grujić’s mixture of vision and athleticism means he is able to play as an advanced midfielder or deeper, as he currently does for Red Star.
Just like Gerrard, 19 year old Grujić excels at passing and teamwork. The Serbian has great vision and is incisive with his passing and rarely looks troubled when in possession, no matter how much pressure he comes under. He is very composed. His technique and tactical intelligence makes him one of the most sought youngsters in the market. Along with his creativity, his ability to score goals from long distance makes him a constant threat for his oppositions.
Grujić has to improve his defensive skills. This is not just his tackling but understanding his duties and making sure he tracks runners whenever the opposition has the ball. But working with Klopp, he will definitely learn his defensive duties much fast and become one of the world beaters that Liverpool fans expect him to become.
What does his future hold?
Klopp’s squad is currently inundated with options in the centre of midfield. Emre Can, Lucas Leiva, James Milner, Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson have all featured regularly this season, while the likes of Jordan Rossiter and Cameron Brannagan offer welcome options in reserve.
So far under Klopp, Liverpool have operated with either a two-man or three-man midfield engine, with the latter proving particularly effective. This system utilises a pair of box-to-box midfielders flanking a more defensive-minded option, namely Lucas, and this high-energy role could be where Grujić fits in.
Grujić’s ability to shuttle from one box to the other in possession would suit this remit perfectly, while the Serbian’s physicality is reminiscent of Can, who is set to play a key role under Klopp for the long term.