After being omitted from yet another squad for Serbia in their 3-2 victory against Republic of Ireland, it would be fair to say that Marko Grujic is in footballing purgatory.
The Liverpool midfielder, currently on loan at FC Porto, has only made one appearance for his country since July 2018 in what is a sad summary of his fall from grace over the past few years.
After signing for Liverpool from Red Star Belgrade in January 2016, he was expected to become a key player in the Reds line-up, even being talked up as a “top talent” by manager Jurgen Klopp.
That assessment was certainly justified having turned in a series of exciting performances in his home country, with six goals and seven assists from midfield for Red Star in 2015/16.
He has only made 14 competitive appearances for Liverpool since, though, with just five of those being starts, all coming in the Carabao Cup.
Away from Anfield, the 24-year-old has also failed to have that much of an impact at any of his adoptive clubs.
Farmed out on loan deals to Cardiff City, Hertha Berlin and now Porto, it was only with the Bluebirds that he could find regular opportunities, making 14 appearances in all competitions throughout the second half of the 2017/18 campaign.
Whilst he has been afforded 29 appearances in Portugal throughout 2020/21, just ten of those have been starts. As a matter of fact, he has taken to the pitch for just 307 minutes of Liga NOS action, having been introduced after the 85th minute in his last four league fixtures.
That is not something which will do his chances of first team football with Liverpool any favours, especially as he has considerable competition at Anfield from the likes of Thiago Alcantara, Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Naby Keita and more.
Now rated at £12.6m by Transfermarkt, it seems unlikely that Grujic’s talent is going to see him break out of the footballing purgatory in which he currently finds himself.
Many of Klopp’s signings at Liverpool have proven to be masterstrokes, but investing in the Serbian was a rare misjudgment from the Anfield boss.