As debuts go, new Liverpool midfielder Marko Grujic’s was right out of the drawer marked ‘dream’, albeit the occasion and opposition must be taken into account.
Things couldn’t have gone much better for the Serbian who sparkled in a 45-minute run out against Fleetwood Town in Liverpool’s second pre-season fixture, as the Premier League team eased past the League One outfit 5-0.
The 20-year-old signing from Redstar Belgrade won his new club a penalty with a cute piece of trickery, scored the opening goal, rattled the woodwork and had another long-ranger parried away at Highbury.
It wasn’t only the consistent threat he posed to Fleetwood’s goal that impressed however. At 6ft 3” Grujic made his physical presence felt on and off the ball and there was an invention to his passing.
Although it was against inferior opposition, this first glimpse at their new signing will certainly have filled Liverpool fans with hope that Grujic possesses the attributes to make a very positive impact in the forthcoming campaign.
The nature of the all-action display from central midfield couldn’t help but evoke memories of a young Steven Gerrard charging about in his early Liverpool days, occasionally going into challenges a little overzealously.
If Grujic turns out to be a quarter of the player Gerrard became, then it will be £5m very well spent indeed.
Manager Jurgen Klopp was careful not to be too effusive in his praise so early on, but was obviously impressed with his performance, if not his slightly comical knee-sliding goal celebration that may have been over cooking it slightly in the circumstances.
Klopp said: “He scored his first goal, which was very nice to see; first goal, first situation, it’s a dream. You don’t see a player celebrate like him in a friendly game very often!
“He showed that it was a big moment, but that’s nice to see. These players will improve, that is for sure.”
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.