One former Premier League defender has issued glowing praise of Liverpool midfielder Ryan Gravenberch, backing him to ‘become a super player’ in time.
The 21-year-old has looked quite impressive since joining from Bayern Munich just over three months ago, with two goals and two assists in his first 16 appearances for the Reds (Transfermarkt).
Speaking on Premier Sports (6 December, 21:35) after Jurgen Klopp’s side won 2-0 at Sheffield United on Wednesday night, Damien Delaney voiced his admiration for what he’s seen from the Dutchman.
The ex-Crystal Palace defender said: “I think that Gravenberch, over the next 12 or 18 months, I think he’s going to become a super player as he develops, from what I’ve seen from him.”
When asked if the 21-year-old is capable of living up to being billed ‘the next Steven Gerrard’, the Irish pundit wasn’t quite convinced, although he acknowledged that there are unmistakable similarities between the two players.
Delaney replied: “I don’t know, he has a long way to go and a lot of trophies to win before he gets to that, [but] you can see the shades – silky skill, loads of energy, work rate. He has the whole lot.”
Gravenberch had to be content with a handful of minutes off the bench last night, coming on for compatriot Cody Gakpo in the 86th minute, but overall Klopp must be delighted with what the ex-Bayern midfielder has shown at Liverpool so far.
He features among the Reds’ top five players so far this season for key passes (16) and passes into the penalty area (21), while his long ball success rate of 91.7% is better than anyone else in the squad.
Excluding those with fewer than two shot-creating actions in total, the Dutchman ranks third for that metric with 4.27 per 90 minutes.
In terms of his work off the ball, Gravenberch has the fifth-most blocks (16) and joint-sixth highest combined tally of tackles and interceptions (27), as per FBref.
These figures illustrate that the 21-year-old is diligent out of possession and has a flair for getting the ball into dangerous areas, a combination which indeed evokes throwbacks to Gerrard in his prime.
The youngster certainly has much more to do if he’s to leave as big a legacy at Anfield as the Huyton legend has, but the early signs are that he can indeed fulfil Delaney’s prediction of becoming ‘a super player’ for Liverpool.