It might be honest to say that there was some preliminary confusion over precisely what position Liverpool had signed Ryan Gravenberch for.
In confirming his arrival, sources near the membership described the Dutchman because the ‘multifunctional’ midfielder that they had lengthy mentioned they needed so as to add this summer time.
In response to them, Gravenberch could be referred to as upon to tackle each the No. 8 and No. 6 roles featured in Jurgen Klopp‘s system.
However then the supervisor himself spoke about his newest addition, and appeared to contradict that view with a reasonably persuasive abstract of his abilities.
Requested what Gravenberch can present, the German mentioned: “He’s super-talented, he can drive the ball, he could be actually a box-to-box risk, he’s going there.”
This didn’t look like the reward one would possibly lavish upon a holding midfielder, nor did the participant’s personal appraisal of his traits.
?? Good recommendation from Ryan Gravenberch’s dad and mom! pic.twitter.com/gIrlOuMnjr
— This Is Anfield (@thisisanfield) September 2, 2023
Commenting on what he would possibly convey to Liverpool, he mentioned: “I feel I’m a great dribbler, I’m a technical participant. Additionally a box-to-box participant. I even have a great shot.”
It may be no coincidence that these assessments aligned with these of Thomas Tuchel, the Bayern Munich supervisor who had let Gravenberch go within the hope of signing a real holder this summer time.
“He’s a box-to-box midfielder for me, an attacking participant,” he mentioned. “The principle drawback for him is that we don’t actually play with a No. 8 in our 4-2-3-1 system.”
On this proof, there’s substance to the Georginio Wijnaldum comparisons which have persevered ever since Gravenberch was linked with Anfield.
Each are Dutch, clever footballers and tireless runners; an ideal mixture of traits for anybody taking part in underneath Klopp.
However, as was the case with Wijnaldum, it appears clear that the supervisor additionally views Gravenberch – at most – as somebody able to deputising within the holding position, somewhat than one who would possibly make it his house.
That information will come as a blow to some supporters, who’ve talked up the brand new man’s capability to anchor the midfield since his signing was confirmed.
In reality, hope that he would possibly land there’s largely rooted in a (maybe comprehensible) wrestle to conceive Wataru Endo because the go-to man in that place given his lack of pedigree.
Klopp’s admiration for the Japanese is a matter of public file, and Liverpool’s hit price on transfers is sufficient to make you imagine that they might have discovered one other diamond within the tough.
However his arrival at Anfield owes a lot to a dearth of pre-peak, elite-level No. 6s available on the market this summer time – one which Liverpool sources privately identified very early within the window.
Some supporters might disagree with that skilled view, however one want solely have a look at the names coveted on social media to see that argument is already being borne out.
Take Florentino Luis, who’s at the moment struggling to start out video games for Benfica, or Ibrahim Sangare, who has simply landed at Nottingham Forest.
And whereas Cheick Doucoure, Douglas Luiz and Boubacar Kamara are all positive gamers in their very own proper, do any of that trio look destined to finish up among the many greatest on this planet of their place?
For the charges that may have been commanded, that’s the stage that must be anticipated, and if Liverpool weren’t satisfied, then a cut-price different makes extra sense.
After all, whereas which may be true, there is no such thing as a query that, as the only specialist six within the squad, Endo finds himself underneath immense strain.
The 30-year-old’s latest profession has seen him engaged in relegation battles somewhat than difficult for trophies, so it could be honest to say he must shock in making that leap this season.
And it’s in that context that Liverpool might maybe do with Gravenberch lightening the load on the very least in relation to taking part in within the six.
Even accounting for Klopp’s feedback, that’s not inconceivable to think about, with the Reds doing a formidable job of controlling Aston Villa on Sunday and not using a pure holder.
However we now have but to see whether or not that may be a workable tactic in opposition to the really elite opposition, or if Klopp will choose to lean on Endo in such circumstances.
Both method, Liverpool’s perception that they’ve landed a midfielder of game-changing high quality in Gravenberch stays unshaken.
The one difficulty for followers is that the 21-year-old’s brilliance appears unlikely to be evidenced within the place they really feel it’s most wanted.