Jurgen Klopp specifically asked young midfielder Marko Grujic to stay at Liverpool instead of going back on loan to his parent club, but the 19-year-old wanted to stay in Serbia until the summer.
Red Star Belgrade are waltzing to the title and are currently 26 points clear of their nearest rivals, and Grujic wants to stick around and pick up the trophy come the end of the campaign – despite Klopp’s wishes.
Our manager eventually gave in to his demands, but you can imagine he did so begrudgingly.
“One of the first questions I got was why wouldn’t I come to LFC straightaway, because they have a lot of problems with injuries?” Grujic told the Echo.
“Klopp himself told me that he needed me right then and there but I just couldn’t give up on my dream of winning a title with Red Star.”
Liverpool’s injury crisis meant Klopp was keen to bolster his options this month, and you can understand why when agreeing to spend £5.1m on a player you’d want him immediately available.
Jordan Henderson has a heel problem, Lucas is covering the much depleted defence and James Milner has only just returned from an injury of his own – but it appears the current bunch will have to battle through our many competitions until the end of the season.
“This has been my dream ever since I started playing football. Now that I’m so close to fulfilling that dream I wasn’t going to give that up lightly,” Grujic continues.
“We have a great advantage over the rivals and I’d really like to finish what I have started. We want to continue this winning streak and write history with Red Star.
“Klopp himself said that Red Star is the greatest club in Serbia, he also knows that it’s the most successful.
“The greatness of Red Star is also known throughout Europe.
“Their desire was for me to join LFC in January, but they understood what it’s like to win a title with your mother club.
“After winning the trophy with Red Star, I will be very satisfied and self confident when joining LFC for the pre season.”
You can understand Grujic’s desires, although it’s a shame for Liverpool that we couldn’t call upon him this January during our hectic run of matches.
If Steven Gerrard was months away from securing a title with Liverpool, he wouldn’t have left in January to join LA Galaxy. If anything, Grujic’s loyalty is admirable – and will be a trait he’ll hopefully bring with him to Merseyside.