Liverpool fans may not be impressed by the latest comments from Jurgen Klopp's first signing
Marko Grujic has the distinction of being Jurgen Klopp’s first signing as Liverpool manager, but the Serbian young gun has all but conceded that those who arrived subsequently are likely to make a more immediate impact at Anfield.
Grujic was one of seven new faces to arrive on Merseyside this summer, but the 20-year-old was bought from Red Star Belgrade for £5.1 in January before being loaned back to the Serbian outfit for the remainder of last season.
In his final season with the club he joined in 2013, Grujic contributed six goals and seven assist in 29 appearances, before continuing in that vein during Liverpool’s extensive preseason fixture list.
Grujic, a dynamic central midfielder, celebrated his club debut with a goal against Fleetwood before doing the same in an equally one-sided victory over Huddersfield.
During the Reds’ tour of America, he had to be replaced during their defeat to Chelsea due to a nasty clash of heads, but bounced back by netting the fourth goal in Liverpool’s bravura 4-0 win over Barcelona.
However, since the resumption of the Premier League, he has featured just once for Klopp’s side; a 12 minute cameo from the bench after replacing Adam Lallana during the 2-0 loss to Burnley.
Indeed, the German coach has started a midfield trio of Lallana, captain Jordan Henderson and another new recruit, Georginio Wijnaldum in all four league games to date.
Speaking to Liverpoolfc.com, the three-time capped Serbia International, who may yet line out against Ireland on the road to Russia, said adapting to Klopp’s notoriously exacting training methods had proven difficult, while he was content with assuming a more peripheral role this term.
“It was hard in pre-season, especially for me because I have come from Serbia and our work here is at a higher level.
“The running and exercises are harder and I’m still learning, but I’m sure I will adapt. I’m proud that I can work with the staff here and it will be OK.
“For the first season I just want to learn from these guys. I have the big pleasure of playing with some of the best footballers in the world. I want to get some minutes and games to try and improve myself for the future. I think next season will be the one where I show what I can do,” he said.
However, he did claim to have felt an immediate connection with the Anfield faithful, and drew positive comparisons between Liverpool and Belgrade.
“Red Star is a very, very big club, like Liverpool,” he added, speaking in the latest edition of the official Liverpool magazine. But both clubs are like family, and that’s why I chose to join Liverpool
“I think there is the same harmony between club and fans and already everywhere that I’ve been around the city I just feel how Liverpool is such a big club.
“All around the world people support Liverpool, that really struck me on the summer tour, and there is incredible harmony between fans and players.”
Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that Chelsea skipper John Terry did not fracture his ankle during the 2-2 draw with Swansea, but he will not face Liverpool on Friday night.