Liverpool eased to a professional win against Union Saint-Gilloise, with new boy Ryan Gravenberch starring for much of the evening.
The ex-Bayern Munich man impressed with his silky smooth touches on the half-turn, strength in possession and ability to eat up the grass as he glided over the ground in attack. An eye-catching first half performance was punctuated by a first goal in red, as the Dutchman was quickest to react after USG goalkeeper Anthony Morris spilled Trent Alexander-Arnold’s swerving strike directly into his path.
A quieter second half in which the 21-year-old appeared to still be coming to grips with the physical demands of the Jurgen Klopp pressing system led to a departure in the 80th minute applauded by the home Anfield crowd as the goalscorer gave way for Dominik Szoboszlai.
“He’s enjoying the situation, enjoying himself, that’s very important,” Klopp said of Gravenberch speaking to the team website after the game. “He gets step by step all the confidence back, that’s really cool to see.
“He’s in the middle of the group, fits really well to the age group of the majority of the squad, so that’s really good. That’s only positive.
“We thought he might be able to play 90, we want to give him 90, but then we saw how he dropped a little bit and didn’t want to go there [with] any risks, so that’s why we brought on Dom for a few minutes.”
The youngster will need to hop on the treadmill over the next few weeks, as Curtis Jones’ upheld three-match suspension for a controversial red card in the 2-1 loss to Tottenham means that more will be demanded of Gravenberch.
From yesterday’s evidence, he’s more than up to the task.