Owen Hargreaves has said that he thoroughly enjoys watching Liverpool midfielder Ryan Gravenberch, adding that he reminds him of a player who once proved to be an expensive misfit at Manchester United.
The Dutchman arrived from Bayern Munich on transfer deadline day and, despite getting just two Premier League starts so far (Transfermarkt), he’s already looked a tremendous addition to Jurgen Klopp’s side with his energy in the middle third and his eye for goal.
Speaking to Premier League Productions (30 October, 2:40pm), the former England international equated the versatility and athleticism of the 21-year-old to Paul Pogba, with the caveat that he reckoned the comparison wouldn’t fit well with Reds supporters.
Hargreaves said of Gravenberch: “He has played amazing [in the Europa League] and because he has played well there, then he gets the opportunity to play in the Premier League.
“He reminds me, Liverpool fans won’t like this, but he is Pogba-esque. He can do a lot of good stuff. He can play in a lot of positions. He has a great size. Great athleticism.
“I think he is one of those players you will need to specialise in a position, but so far I love watching him. I am amazed he didn’t play more for Bayern because I think he is going to be a good addition to [Liverpool’s] midfield.”
Hargreaves’ comparison of Gravenberch and Pogba due to their physique and their adaptability to multiple midfield roles isn’t wholly unfounded, with both the Liverpool ace and the Frenchman having alternated between the number 6, 8 and 10 positions.
However, while the Reds’ Dutch recruit has thoroughly impressed with his all-action attitude, the former Man United midfielder was strongly criticised over his application at Old Trafford and came to be regarded as an expensive flop following his then-world record £89.3m transfer in 2016 (ESPN).
The 30-year-old is a classic case of someone who possesses no shortage of talent but lacks the ultra-professional mindset which is required of footballers at the highest level.
Thankfully, all the evidence of Gravenberch at Liverpool thus far suggests that his mentality won’t be a problem, and his recent performances may even have given Klopp a pleasant selection headache.
Curtis Jones has now served his three-match domestic suspension, but will he come straight back in for the Dutchman given how impressive the latter has been? We’re thankful that it isn’t us who’s left to make that decision!