Hertha Berlin manager Pal Dardai has lavished huge praise on Liverpool loanee Marko Grujic, who has made a massive impact at the Bundesliga club.
Having suffered two ankle injuries and then sitting through a winter break, Grujic has only made eight appearances for Hertha so far but has already made a huge impressive in Berlin.
The Serbian midfielder made his return to action with a 57-minute showing in Sunday’s 3-1 win at Nurnberg, with Dardai admitting he took a risk putting the 22-year-old back in the side after a lengthy absence.
But speaking after the game, the Hertha chief was full of praise for the qualities of the Reds star.
He said: “This is the first time in my life when I didn’t have to settle with the middle shelf of the supermarket, instead I was able reach the top shelf.
“This is the first time I have a player like him, unfortunately only on loan from Liverpool.
“Before the Bundesliga game we had an exhibition match between Hertha ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams. Grujic was on the ‘B’ team, and they won 1-0.
“But it doesn’t matter what I think of him, the numbers talk for themselves.
“When he started and played a lot we had a 2.4 point average. He has the whole team on his shoulders.
“With this point average we would contend in the Champions League. Top three teams in the Bundesliga have a point average like this.
“If he doesn’t do anything, he still makes all the others calm with his presence. You know, he provides stability.
“Without him, we have a 0.7 point average. We would be relegated with this kind of performance.
“When he did not play, it affected all the others. We missed him in the middle of the park. We can have a good spring if he’s healthy.”
Virgil van Dijk, meanwhile, is the first man to lead from the back since Jamie Carragher left Liverpool, according to one former Reds star. Read the full story here…
Get the latest personalised Reds products on our new TEAMtalk Liverpool shop!