For a man who is so often praised for his shrewd business in the transfer market for Liverpool, it looks as if Michael Edwards may have made a big mistake when allowing Marko Grujic to leave on loan.
The Serbian midfielder returned from two seasons on loan at Hertha Berlin this summer and looked to be establishing himself as a part of Jurgen Klopp’s first-team squad, playing 90 minutes in Liverpool’s League Cup ties against Arsenal and Lincoln City respectively (per WhoScored).
However, the 24-year-old, whose asking price was reportedly £20m in the previous window, was allowed to join FC Porto on loan during the summer transfer window and he has gone on to make four appearances for Sérgio Conceição’s side so far this season.
Grujic has played as a defensive-midfielder on 25 occasions in his career thus far and could’ve been the man to replace Fabinho in Klopp’s starting XI following his injury.
Even if he wasn’t considered ready to start regularly for Liverpool, he could’ve provided some much-needed squad depth in midfield, with the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Thiago having also struggled with injuries so far this season.
As we approach a busy Christmas period, you imagine that they won’t be the last players to pick up injuries in Klopp’s side and therefore they could have done with someone such as Grujic to be available as a fairly-experienced back-up.
The Reds have coped reasonably well with their injury concerns this season, as they sit third in the Premier League table going into the international break, however, they did lose Trent Alexander-Arnold to a muscle injury in the recent 1-1 draw with Manchester City.
His former coach Pal Dardai was certainly full of praise for Grujic during his time in Germany, saying:
“I’ve been at Hertha for 22 years, this isn’t meant as an insult to anyone else, but Marko is by far the best midfielder I’ve seen in my time at the club.
“I was a defensive-midfielder and managed to score 17 goals, which isn’t bad, but Marko carries much more of a goal threat, he’s got a sensational shot on him and is much better than I was… he can play anywhere in midfield.
“He’s got so much potential, and you can see that out on the pitch. He’s so robust in the middle of the park, but he can still play. He’s good in the air, he wins tackles and has got such a strong desire to win. I can only say: ‘respect’. He’s not even fully fit. Just imagine what he’ll be like when he is!”
It will be interesting to see if Liverpool consider recalling Grujic in January if their injury problems do not improve, as the Serbian international could definitely prove to be a strong back-up option for the Merseyside club when you consider his performances with Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga over the last two seasons, which were clearly enough to impress Dardai.