Liverpool U23s boss Neil Critchley insists Marko Grujic has the ability to become a key player for the club in the future.
The Serbian has been on the fringes of the first team since his arrival, with Jurgen Klopp seemingly keen to nurture the midfielder’s raw talent.
Glimpses of his potential during preseason games over the last two seasons have given Reds good reason to believe he will break into the first team at some point.
Despite having not achieved that just yet, Critchley believes the 21-year-old is making significant progress away from the senior team.
Reflecting on recent discussions with the Reds boss, Critchley told Liverpoolfc.com: “A couple of weeks ago we had an in-house game at Melwood and the manager spoke to me and said Marko has made big strides but maybe nobody has seen that because it’s not visible, so he wanted him to play for the U23s when the opportunity arises, and feels it is important for his development.”
“I have to say, the games that Marko has played for us, he has done very well in. You can see he is a top-class player and what I like about him, and I’ve not been in his company too many times, is he is a very humble boy.”
“He has got a really good attitude and he is a good boy to work with, and if we can help him get closer to the first team then that’s our job.”
“Because of the size of him, his stature, he is such a big lad and an impressive person to look at, he’s a man, but you do forget he is still young. He needs support and he needs guidance.”
“As the manager said, sometimes the development can go a little bit under the radar. He will see that because he is working every day with him on the training pitch.”
“Sometimes it might not be as visible to supporters but I’m sure Marko in the future will be a really good player for this football club.”
Grujic’s last first team outing came in the Carabao Cup defeat away to Leicester City, in which he struggled to make an impact on a difficult evening- much like a lot of his teammates.
Though he looks unlikely to nudge out any of Liverpool’s starting central midfielders at this moment in time, he certainly has the brute strength and athleticism to help him thrive against the Premier League’s physicality if called upon.
He also boasts a complimentary mix of grit and grace that has already seen him stake an early claim to become a box-to-box outlet for the Reds in years to come.
Experience and maturity appear the key ingredients the club is striving to help him gain, making a regular role in the U23s a potentially inspired route.