Liverpool: Tottenham drawn; Grujic on his role; Dortmund star wants talks
Having seen off Derby County convincingly on Tuesday night, the Reds will be rewarded in the next round of the EFL Cup by hosting Tottenham in around a months time. Jurgen Klopp may well have hoped for an easier tie in the next round but Mauricio Pochettino will be without star striker Harry Kane, though they did not miss him as they romped to a 5-0 victory at home to League 1 side Gillingham last night to put them through to the next round.
Having been beaten finalists in last season’s competition, Liverpool will be keen to go one better this time around. With the two Manchester sides being drawn together and Chelsea facing a tough test at West Ham, a victory over Tottenham could see the side move to be one of the favourites in the competition as the number of teams still involved dwindles.
One of the biggest benefits from Tuesday night’s victory was the impressive full debut of Jurgen Klopp’s first signing, Marko Grujic. The Serbian faces tough competition for first team football with the likes of Georgino Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson, Emre Can and Adam Lallana all featuring, with Lucas Leiva, Kevin Stewart and Ovie Ejaria also playing a role and competing for game time in the Reds midfield. The 20-year-old has said that he is working hard to improve, particularly on one aspect of his game as he explained:
“When I came from the Serbian league, I didn’t really do a lot of defensive things, I know that. The coach here wants me to do more in defence. He has said that. I am trying to work on those kind of things, and adapting to those demands. Everyone knows that the Premier League is of the highest standard. It’s very fast, very physical, especially for young players. The key thing is that I continue to work in the gym, to work on the physical side of my game.”
Grujic has also described what he sees as his best position, in a more advanced midfield role ahead of a holding midfielder, similar to where he played against Derby, he said:
“I see myself in the position I played against Derby. We had Lucas behind, with me and Hendo further forward. That’s my best position in midfield. Those players help me in every single training session. They have many, many games in their legs so it is important to listen to them and learn from them.”
Now, the challenge for Grujic will be to prove himself to Jurgen Klopp and put even more pressure onto the likes of Henderson, Lallana and Wijnaldum to justify more Premier League game time.
Jurgen Klopp could also be looking to add another man to his ranks, with a bid worth £11 million reportedly being prepared for Borussia Dortmund winger Christian Pulisic as the American stalls over new talks with the German club who want to tie him down on a new contract for his long term future.
Sports Illustrated claim that Thomas Tuchel is desperate to get the deal signed soon, but Pulisic is waiting to see how much game time he will get this season before committing past his current deal until 2019. The 18-year-old has been promising for Dortmund, scoring once and assisting three times in just two and a half games, for which he has been selected, of the seven that Tuchel’s side have played this season.
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