Despite a strong showing in pre-season, Marko Grujic has had to wait for his first Liverpool start. It finally came against Derby County in the EFL Cup on Tuesday evening, and the 20-year-old Serbian put in an assured and promising performance when given the chance.
It wasn’t a perfect night, and especially late on he began to visibly tire, holding on to the ball for too long and making a number of mistakes. That those mistakes were in part born of a tired mind and tired legs, though, is positive. If stamina is the main thing standing in the way of Grujic being good enough to start regularly for Liverpool, that’s a positive.
Because the stamina will come. And the rest of Grujic’s game already looks well beyond his years. So too does his frame, and alongside Divock Origi in attack and Jöel Matip in defence, it meant that Liverpool had the three most physically imposing players on the pitch on Tuesday. All of whom are in Jürgen Klopp’s long-term plans.
Regular starts in the league may still be some way off given Liverpool’s current depth, but through injuries and form Grujic will get his chances. And if he can regularly play like he did against Derby County, it might soon become hard to displace him from the lineup when he does.