13 Sept 2016

Mystery Solved? 'Excellent' Liverpool star explains first-team absence; admits it's 'hard' at Anfield

After arriving in the summer, Marko Grujic is still waiting for his first competitive start for Liverpool, and based on his latest comments, it appears that there's a specific reason for his absence from the first team.

Grujic has played just 12 minutes of football so far (during the 2-0 Burnley debacle), and when asked this week about how he's settling in at Liverpool, he admitted:

"It was hard in pre-season, especially for me because the work here is at a higher level [than Serbia]. The running and exercises are harder".

Reading between the lines, it seems clear that Grujic is finding it 'hard' to make the step up in quality, and his absence from the first team probably means that he's not ready for the hurly-burly of the Premier League.

Grujic further added:

“For the first season I want to learn [and] get some minutes to improve myself. Next season I [will] show what I can do.”

Conventional excuses wisdom dictates that foreign players usually need a year to settle in, but Reds legend Jamie Carragher believes that's nonsense. Last season, he explained:

"There’s this thing that it takes foreign players a year to settle, but I’ve never bought into that. The great foreign players perform straight away".

I totally agree with this. The very best players - foreign or British - usually make an immediate impact, and there are countless examples of this...except, of course, when it comes to Liverpool.

In many cases, foreign players arriving in the Prem (for the first time) either fail at Anfield, or take forever to make an impact. In recent years, Suarez, Coutinho, and Firmino are the only exceptions to this rule for Liverpool (though Firmino took a while to get going).

In terms of growing into the team, will 'excellent' Grujic be another Emre Can (who took his time to settle, but is now a solid part of the squad) or will he follow the Markovic route (i.e. never settling, and failing to reach the required level)?


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