Belfast Telegraph

Grujic excited by Liverpool deal while Klopp plans to ease injury concerns

By Carl Markham

Liverpool have completed the signing of Serbian midfielder Marko Grujic from Red Star Belgrade, the Premier League club have announced.

The fee is understood to be £5.1million and Grujic has signed a four-year contract and will return to Red Star on loan for the remainder of the season.

"I'm very excited and so proud to be here and a member of Liverpool Football Club. I can't wait to get started, play at Anfield and train at Melwood," Grujic said.

"I was thinking about my progress in my next period and decided it was good for me to come here and try to be the best I can.

"I want to play in front of one of the loudest set of fans in Europe at Anfield.

"I also like the atmospheres at other stadiums, the crowds are very good. I like to play under pressure and that's why I've come here - because it brings out the best in me."

Klopp was alerted to Grujic's potential soon after arriving as Brendan Rodgers' replacement in October and now the deal has been wrapped up.

"We're very pleased because Marko is a big talent and we've seen him a lot of times," said the German. "When I came here, our scouts showed me some footage of a very skilled player from Red Star Belgrade.

"We watched it, we spoke to him, we met each other - he's a good boy, a young boy but plays an important role at the moment at Red Star, who are the best team in Serbia.

"He's tall but quick and good at technical things. He can play passes and can dribble. But he is young, so he has to develop."

While the arrival of Grujic marks the start of Klopp's restructuring of the squad he inherited from Ulsterman Rodgers, he has more pressing concerns which need to be addressed in the January window.

Injuries to centre-backs Martin Skrtel, Dejan Lovren, Mamadou Sakho and Joe Gomez mean he is looking for cover with a busy month ahead.

Midfielder Joe Allen, meanwhile, admits he is playing for his long-term future at Liverpool.

The Wales international has made just one Premier League start this season - at Newcastle a month ago - and with contract discussions which began last March on hold, the 25-year-old admits he has to work hard.

"That is something which has gone very quiet so I am not too sure really," he said of talks over his contract, which expires in 2017.

"I have made only one league start this season and I want to play more, I think that is obvious for any player in this particular situation.

"From my point of view it is about knuckling down, doing my job and giving my best, which I always do."

With Euro 2016 on the horizon Allen needs more pitch time in order to press his international claims and his performance in the 1-0 Capital One Cup semi-final first leg win at Stoke was arguably one of his best.

However, with Liverpool's current injury crisis there is a greater chance of him seeing more action but the prospect of going out on loan seems unlikely.

"There is nothing to report," he said when asked whether he had considered his short-term options.

Belfast Telegraph


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