Liverpool are closing in on the deadline day signing of Ryan Gravenberch from Bayern Munich. He’ll bring a much needed new option for Jurgen Klopp in midfield. Here’s a look at the potential Liverpool line up with Gravenberch.
This signing will complete a radical transformation in midfield for the Reds this summer. Liverpool fans have watched the likes of Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, James Milner and Fabio Carvalho all depart, leaving some massive gaps to fill in the centre of the pitch.
The club pulled off an excellent early piece of business by signing Alexis Mac Allister from Brighton for just £35m, a bargain by the standards of some transfers this summer. Dominik Szoboszlai soon followed, but Liverpool were left frustrated as other midfield targets slipped through their grasp.
They look like they will at least end the transfer window with one more midfield addition though with Ryan Gravenberch coming in to provide competition for the likes of Curtis Jones and fellow new boy Wataru Endo.
How could Liverpool line up with Gravenberch?
Gravenberch as the holding midfielder
Perhaps the most likely Liverpool line up featuring Ryan Gravenberch will see the Dutchman operating as the holding midfielder. With Mac Allister and Szoboszlai currently looking like guaranteed picks, Gravenberch would be expected to anchor the midfield and provide protection for a defence that has conceded in all three Premier League games so far this term.
After a disjointed campaign in Munich, it may take some time for Klopp to rebuild Gravenberch’s confidence and shape him into the holding midfielder he’s looking for. In the meantime, Endo may continue to occupy the role as he did in the recent win at Newcastle, but the Japanese international will certainly expect strong competition from the new arrival.
Operating as the deepest member of a midfield three, Gravenberch would be rekindling more of the role he had at Ajax where he frequently played as a single pivot, as opposed to his limited opportunities in Munich where he usually appeared alongside Joshua Kimmich or Leon Goretzka in a 4-2-3-1 system.
The 21 year old would drop deep to pick up the ball and most likely look to feed either Mac Allister or Szoboszlai. His height and acceleration will also be assets to Liverpool as they look for more solidity after a somewhat shaky 2022/23 season which saw the Reds concede 47 Premier League goals.
Gravenberch as a number 8
An alternative option for Jurgen Klopp is to utilise Gravenberch as a number 8. He’d most likely take his place on the left side of the three and that’s a role he did also play during his days in the Eredivisie, frequently combining well with Ajax left-back Nicolas Tagliafico.
Such a role would allow Gravenberch much greater freedom to get forward and support attacks. He was more of an attack-minded player during his early years, frequently getting on the scoresheet for Ajax’s youth and senior teams but has been deployed in a more conservative role over the past couple of seasons.
It may still be that the number 8 role ends up being Gravenberch’s best position and his versatility should ensure that the youngster gets game-time across the Liverpool midfield this season. That will give Jurgen Klopp a good chance to properly assess the Dutch international who was also the subject of reported interest from Manchester United this summer.