Jurgen Klopp says £34m Liverpool player was looking tired last night

Ryan Gravenberch had to be subbed off last night, as he was starting to look a little tired.

It was a big night for the Dutchman, who bagged his first goal for Liverpool to open the scoring against Union Saint-Gilloise.

He was perhaps the game’s outstanding player, earning a standing ovation from the Anfield crowd while coming off in the 79th minute. But according to Jurgen Klopp’s post-match press conference, Gravenberch was actually supposed to play the full game.

“We thought he might be able to play 90, we want to give him 90, but then we saw now he dropped a little bit and didn’t want to go there [with] any risks so that’s why we brought on Dom [Szoboszlai] for a few minutes.

“I think it’s really obvious how good he is, what a talent he is,” said the manager, when asked about the 21-year-old’s display.

“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. He’s in the middle of the group, fits really well to the age group of the majority of the squad, so that’s really good. That’s only positive.

“[It’s] good. Everything goes in the right direction, that’s really helpful.”

It’s an interesting little point that Gravenberch was actually supposed to complete yesterday’s game. That he wasn’t able to should point to the fact that he’s still finding his feet fitness-wise.

Having come in on transfer deadline day – and having barely played last season – that shouldn’t surprise anyone.

In fact, it could even be seen as something of a positive. No matter how good Gravenberch was and generally has been for Liverpool so far, he is surely going to get even better.

There were real signs of that last night. The former Bayern Munich man was incredibly sharp throughout the first-half in particular.

His goal was well taken and he could even have had a couple more, had the goalkeeper not been equal to two blistering long-range efforts.

On the back of what they saw last night, there will no doubt be calls from fans for Gravenberch to start Sunday’s game against Brighton.

But Klopp’s words read like a warning in that regard. His £34m man perhaps isn’t quite ready yet to be chucked into a game against such a high-tempo side as the Seagulls. On this evidence though, it won’t be long before he is.


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