Years from now, when Jürgen Klopp has won all the trophies for Liverpool and decides to hang up his famous cap and glasses, a good trivia question will be "Who was Klopp's first signing?" The answer to that question is Marko Grujic, who has yet to kick a single ball for the Reds in any capacity. The 19-year-old Serbian signed from Red Star Belgrade for £5.1 million, and immediately returned to complete the season on loan.
Grujic has now spoken out about the events that led to his decision in an interview with Serbian newspaper Blic.
"No-one told me that [Klopp] was going to call," Grujic explained. "I was just sitting around when my phone started ringing and I saw a number on the screen starting with +44... England! When I answered I immediately recognised that German accent and that voice.
"He did most of the talking and told me about the plans that he had for me. His vision is that I should be something between a number 6 and a number 10. What they call a box-to-box midfielder."
So, good thing Grujic already wears number 8. And no pressure wearing that number at Liverpool!
"My only request was that I didn't want to be loaned out, I just want to play for Liverpool. He was very open, told me about how he sees my development. When a coach like that calls you on the phone personally, that's the greatest privilege. That call really cemented my desire to join Liverpool."
I guess the young Serbian wasn't including the current loan spell to his home club in that request. Speaking of Serbians who signed for Liverpool only to be shipped out on loan, Grujic spoke with Lazar Markovic about playing at Anfield. To his credit, and despite having every reason to be a little sore about the way his Liverpool career has gone so far, Markovic was positive about the club.
"I spoke with Lazar Markovic and he told me good things about the club. He told me that Liverpool is a great club, that the pressure and expectations are enormous, and that the first two to three months are the most important."
In perhaps the most endearing part of the interview, Grujic talked about totally fanboying when he met the squad.
"I almost passed out from excitement. My heart almost stopped! I approached everyone and greeted them. I went weak at the knees with excitement but I sat down and had lunch. After that I went to have some more [medical] tests. I will remember this forever.
"Dejan Lovren really cheered me up and impressed me. He is good friends with Lazar. He welcomed me with the words: ‘Is it finally over? We Balkan boys have to stick together!'."
And finally, because obligatory fan service is obligatory, young Marko had to drop this line at the end of the interview:
"I would choose Liverpool over Real Madrid and Barcelona. I love them! I love the Premier League because of the energy and the atmosphere."