Premier League • England

Former Liverpool man calls for patience with €40m Klopp signing as ‘important’ role is highlighted

Ben Stewart
Darwin Nunez and Ryan Gravenberch of Liverpool

Darwin Nunez and Ryan Gravenberch of Liverpool

Former Liverpool midfielder Boudewijn Zenden has called for patience around new signing Ryan Gravenberch as the Dutch star still needs time to adapt.

Liverpool completely overhauled their midfield in the summer as the likes of Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Naby Keita and Fabinho all departed.

The Reds were busy themselves as they struck deals for Gravenberch, Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai. Despite their lack of a natural holding midfielder, Jurgen Klopp instead went about adding some more attacking options to his squad.

While Gravenberch can play in a deeper role, he tends to thrive in a more advanced position where he can get on the ball and link up with the forwards.

As Wataru Endo is yet to nail down a consistent starting spot, Mac Allister has often played a more defensive role so that the likes of Gravenberch and Szoboszlai can get forward.

Gravenberch has only started in one Premier League game up until this point and he has made four appearances coming from the bench.

Zenden thinks that the 21-year-old will become an important player for Liverpool, but he still needs time to adapt to the Premier League.

“I generally think that all players who come new to the Premier League actually need time to acclimatise,” Zenden told Soccer News.

“The way of playing is different than in other competitions. The number of matches with the intensity that they’re played at (is difficult).”

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Gravenberch’s best role highlighted

The former Ajax midfielder didn’t get much of a chance to shine at Bayern Munich as he found himself behind the likes of Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka and Konrad Laimer in the pecking order.

Liverpool snapped Gravenberch up for a reported fee of €40million (approx £35m) and they signed him on a deal until the summer of 2028.

As the season goes on, he should be handed more starts by Klopp and Zenden believes that the 21-year-old is best utilised in an advanced position.

“So, for Gravenberch I think that he will gradually start to feel better and that he will certainly be important. The only question is what role that will be?

“Is he going to play a more conservative role, one with more freedom going forward as the defensive midfielder is usually Mac Allister. So yeah, Gravenberch is of course a player who comes with the Ajax DNA who wants to shift and appear in spaces.”

Playing in a more advanced role should allow Gravenberch to appear in spaces and play to the strengths that Zenden has highlighted.

Given Liverpool’s hectic upcoming schedule, the Dutch midfielder will no doubt be handed plenty of opportunities as he looks to nail down a regular starting spot.

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