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Marko Grujic, ‘the next Gerard’, joins Liverpool

Grujic holds up his Liverpool shirt, which he will don only next season. Photo courtesy: John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images
Grujic holds up his Liverpool shirt, which he will don only next season. Photo courtesy: John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images
Grujic holds up his Liverpool shirt, which he will don only next season. Photo courtesy: John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

As we predicted in these pages a few weeks ago, Liverpool have completed the signing of Serbian teenager Marko Grujic for 5.1 million pounds.

The Red Star Belgrade midfielder, often called “the next Steven Gerard”, has signed a deal that will see him at the English club for four and half years beginning July. The youngster will return to Serbia to complete the season at his old club on loan.

Chelsea and Italian club Internazionale were among clubs interested in Grujic, who was a part of the Serbian squad that won the Under-20 World Cup last year. The playmaker, however, opted for Liverpool after a phone call from Jürgen Klopp. The Liverpool manager reportedly decided to go for Grujic at the behest of his assistant Zeljko Buvac. The deal was reportedly finalised in Belgrade just before Christmas.

“We’re very pleased because Marko is a big talent and we’ve seen him a lot of times,” Klopp said in an interview with Liverpool’s official website.

“When I came here, our scouts showed me some footage of a very skilled player from Red Star Belgrade. We watched it, we spoke to him, we met each other – he’s a good boy, a young boy but plays an important role at Red Star, who are the best team in Serbia.

“To describe him, I would say he’s a tall boy but quick and good at technical things. He can play passes and can dribble. But he is young, so he has to develop. He will do this, so everything is OK.”

Grujic had to undergo a medical on Merseyside earlier this week and will begin Liverpool duty in pre-season training this July.

“I’m very excited and so proud to be here,” Grujic said.

“I can’t wait to get started, play at Anfield and train at Melwood. I was thinking about my progress in my next period and decided it was good for me to come here to try to be the best I can. I want to play in front of one of the loudest set of fans in Europe at Anfield.

“I also like the atmospheres at other stadiums, the crowds are very good. I like to play under pressure and that’s why I’ve come here – because it brings out the best in me.”

Who is Marko Grujic?

Grujic is 19 years old. He is 6 foot 3. A midfielder, Grujic was in Serbia’s winning squad in the U-20 FIFA World Cup. While he didn’t star for the Serbs, he played five games. He also scored in the penalty shootout against USA in the quarterfinal.

In the current season of the Serbian first division, Red Star Belgrade are running away with the title, having opened up a 25-point gap at the top, and Grujic has contributed to the campaign with five goals from midfield.

Liverpool Echo‘s James Pearce spoke to a Serbian football expert who has seen Grujic in action up close. Vlastimir Stevanovic, incidentally a Liverpool fan, says: “If I had to compare Marko Grujic to anyone in terms of style of playing, I’d compare him to our own Steven Gerrard. In Serbia they call him ‘the new Matic’ and in Italy they call him ‘the new Pogba’.

“He can play offensively, but he would also be great at playing a deeper role, much like Pogba, which is actually how he plays at Red Star. He is very tall and strong so he’s great at aerial duels. He has excellent vision, a great passing game and he possesses great game intelligence.”

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