Neil Warnock rates Marko Grujic very highly and has told Cardiff and Liverpool fans that he wants to play him in each of the 19 Championship games remaining.
But importantly, he has to start at least 14 times, or the Welsh side will be punished financially. Liverpool inserted this clause into the loan deal to ensure Grujic starts matches, and Warnock has no issue with it.
The 21-year-old left Anfield for more minutes, with Jurgen Klopp not able to use him this term with the likes of Jordan Henderson, Emre Can, Gini Wijnaldum and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ahead of him in the pecking order.
“It’s quite acceptable. I think it’s a good deal for both parties, because I want to play him,” Warnock told BBC Sport.
“I’m not signing him to make the numbers up. He’s a good lad and a good player. All of our scouts have recommended him to us.
“I think we can be good for him. I think we can get him match-fit. There’s a World Cup this summer, and he has ambitions to go to that. So if we can get him up and running, that will be great for both parties,” Warnock added.
“We won’t get punished if he gets injured and things like that. We’ve got 19 league games, and hopefully he’ll play in all of them.
“A lot of clubs take players from the Premier League and don’t play them. Well that’s a waste of time. Same as me sending someone out, if they make up the numbers it’s pointless.
“We’ll have to look at penalising clubs if they don’t play them for a percentage of games.
“Jurgen really likes the lad, and he wants him to continue his education. And he just wants to come and play.”
Grujic is very talented and we really hope he can show it under Warnock. The old-school manager won’t suffer fools gladly and will make sure the Serb is contributing defensively as well as offensively, something Klopp has claimed is currently a weakness.
It’d be great if we can get a more confident, rounded player back in the summer, as many fans have forgotten he’s even an option.
But Klopp desperately wanted the former Red Star Belgrade midfielder so we don’t think he’ll give up on him just yet.