- Ryan Gravenberch scored his first Liverpool goal in their Europa League victory
- The midfielder signed from Bayern Munich in the final hours of the window
- Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast ‘ It’s All Kicking Off!’
Jurgen Klopp says Deadline Day signing Ryan Gravenberch is ‘top class’, a ‘smart boy’ and has ‘raw power’ after the Dutch midfielder opened his Liverpool account with a goal against Belgian side Union Saint-Gilloise on Thursday.
Gravenberch signed from Bayern Munich in the final hours of the transfer window after a frustrating year with the German champions. Liverpool had courted the 21-year-old since his days in Ajax’s academy and finally had their man to complete a summer of four midfield arrivals.
And though he has not established himself as a certain starter for Klopp’s team, Gravenberch has impressed many fans with his dynamism. He has a goal and two assists in his three starts for the Reds, already matching Jordan Henderson’s tally for the club in the whole of last season.
‘He has raw power, yeah, I am not sure a lot of people would have described him as that in the past,’ said Klopp after Gravenberch and Diogo Jota helped Liverpool to another Europa League win on Thursday. ‘He is technically incredibly good.
‘That first touch is insane, the speed is top class, he’s a really good shooter, he is a really good player. Yes, he came late (in the transfer window), and yes we play slightly differently (to Bayern) and he needs time to adapt. That is what we can give him, thank god.
Ryan Gravenberch scored his first Liverpool goal in their win over Union Saint-Gilloise
Jurgen Klopp has described the £34m summer signing from Bayern Munich as ‘top class’
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‘He is completely happy with that and in the groove, he realises each training session he is treated completely like others whether he starts or not. He gets even more information in specific moments, he can see what the other boys do in similar positions.
‘He learns, he is a smart boy, everything is going in the right direction and that is really nice to see. He has assisted in the other games and now he has his first goal. It is good. Long may it continue. (He is) very important for us.’
Gravenberch made just six starts for Bayern last season and was perhaps not helped by the Bavarians changing bosses from Julian Nagelsmann to Thomas Tuchel midway through the campaign. Liverpool wanted him all summer but Bayern finally sold him late in the window.
He arrived for just £34million and that looks like a mighty bargain when noting some prices for midfielders this summer, not least the £115m Chelsea put down on Liverpool target Moises Caicedo, who has struggled so far at Stamford Bridge.
After the game, Klopp said: ‘I think it’s really obvious how good he is, what a talent he is. He’s enjoying the situation, enjoying himself, that’s very important, (he) gets step by step all the confidence back, that’s really cool to see. Everything goes in the right direction.’
Gravenberch recorded 67 touches on Thursday – more than any midfielder or attacker on the pitch – and became the first player to either score or assist a goal in each of his first three starts for Liverpool in all competitions since Milan Baros in September 2002.
The Dutchman himself added on his 44th-minute strike, which was a tap-in after a goalkeeper error: ‘It was the best goal of my career so far – the easiest! It doesn’t matter (how they come), a goal is a goal.’
Asked what has changed from his time in Germany, he said: ‘I think the minutes. When you get minutes, you get confident, that’s it. They are a really good group (of players), lots of young players. I am just enjoying it.
Gravenberch looks like a bargain signings compared to the likes of Moises Caicedo
Klopp said the Dutch midfielder ‘will need time to adjust’ but is ‘smart’ and has ‘raw power’
‘Liverpool did a great job to buy such good players (in the summer). There is such a good mood. I was very happy that (the fans) gave me such a good feeling (when he was substituted in the second half) and I want to give them something back.’
Gravenberch was one of four midfield additions in the transfer window and one of those, Wataru Endo, went off at half-time alongside Mo Salah and Darwin Núñez against USG, perhaps hinting he is in line to start in Sunday’s trip to Brighton.
Cody Gakpo will sit out of the match but is hoping to be OK after the international break following a knee injury, while sub keeper Caiomhin Kelleher also has knee issues. Thiago and Stefan Bajcetic have suffered minor setbacks in their returns after long-term lay-offs. Curtis Jones and Diogo Jota are suspended.