Netherlands player Ryan Gravenberch

F*ck the haters, Ryan Gravenberch is lab-made for Klopp’s Liverpool – & here’s why

Ryan Gravenberch was widely considered one of the best young talents in world football not long ago, but has been forgotten about since moving to Bayern Munich to warm the bench in Bavaria. A redemption arc at Liverpool, then, makes perfect sense.

It didn’t feel like long ago at all that the Dutch midfielder was being talked up as the best thing since sliced bread. And while it’s nothing new to overhype a young player way too early on in their career, Gravenberch certainly had something.

Watching him glide around the field for Ajax during that infamous 2018-19 campaign as a 16-year-old, graced with an endless technical ability and the stones to try and take the ball past anyone who dared press him, it was pretty clear that the kid had X-factor and would become one of football’s stars of tomorrow.

Or at least he should’ve been.

Born and raised in Amsterdam, Gravenberch’s potential and performances earned him a move to Bayern Munich in 2022, where it felt rather inevitable that he’d seamlessly blossom into an annoyingly talented deep-lying playmaker, who is impossible to tackle, anticipate or even match for ability.

But he managed only 33 appearances in all competitions, though, and stuttered on his first big chance with the elite.

Suddenly, everyone seems to have forgotten about the wonderkid who was birthed out of the club with one of the most illustrious academy setups in football history. Seriously, this kid eats, sleeps and breathes total football and probably doesn’t even know it.

Football is fickle, though, and you’re thrown to the wolves just as quickly as you were fast-tracked to the very top the minute people lose patience. Gravenberch used the under-21 European Championships as a reminder, though, that he’s not to be forgotten about.

Despite an underwhelming performance from the Netherlands at the tournament, the 21-year-old midfielder impressed, strutting his stuff from box to box and reminding everybody why he dazzled enough for Europe’s big guns to be queuing up for his services in the first place.

We could bore you with the details and the stats that back up exactly why he’s the missing piece of the puzzle for Liverpool, but why do that when the eye test does it for you?

One watch of his highlights against Portugal under-21 tells you everything you need to know, specifically why he’s perfect for the Reds and Jurgen Klopp.

Total package. Played with his slippers on. For those writing him off or struggling to see the talent, in the wise words of British music royalty Take That, have a little patience.

Liverpool have looked extremely exciting to the neutral in their opening few games of the 2023-24 season, but probably for all of the wrong reasons. No holding midfielder, no control, just heavy metal football and pure vibes.

The Reds have tried to address that with the signing of Wataru Endo, but the job is too big for one man alone. Recruiting Gravenberch adds another layer of finesse to a currently chaotic midfield configuration and contrasts Endo nicely, with Klopp looking for a young and old combination.

Gravenberch is excellent at getting on the ball deep and pinging it around effortlessly, all while making people look foolish for trying to tackle him. Bring that ability to the Premier League and he might just unlock Liverpool for good, setting free the likes of Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai for good.

From complete chaos to complete control, it’s abundantly clear to see why Gravenberch is the answer. The kid has got the lot.

By Mitch Wilks

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