Marko Grujic may have to wait until next season to make his Liverpool debut, but he has still caused quite a stir on Anfield since completing his transfer from Red Star Belgrade.
The 19-year-old midfielder was loaned back to the Serbian club for the remainder of the campaign after becoming Jurgen Klopp's first signing as manager and has grown quite the reputation amongst the Anfield faithful since.
A box-to-box midfielder with a penchant for scoring long-range goals, Grujic has been compared to Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, who left for La Galaxy last summer.
Adding weight to the comparison, it was reported shortly after the deal was announced that Grujic had been offered, and accepted, Gerrard's famous No.8 shirt. Liverpool fans reacted with surprise on Twitter, wondering why one so young would invite so much pressure on himself.
However, it appears those reports were not true as the player himself has now confirmed that he will not wear the No.8 when he finally arrives on Merseyside in the summer but one significantly higher.
Speaking to Serbian newspaper Blic, Grujic said: “It would be very difficult.
“I thought it was possible, but no player in the world, to come from Real Madrid or Barcelona, would want this burden. It is better to start slowly and then build.
“I’ll have maybe 35, like at the beginning with Star, or 88 — definitely something that has to do with an eight.”
Grujic's decision could well turn out to be a wise one. Memphis Depay of Manchester United was brave enough to take on the club's iconic No.7 shirt, worn by a plethora of club legends including George Best, Eric Cantona, and Cristiano Ronaldo, and has paid the price for it.
The number has invited more scrutiny on his play and, along with his £31million transfer fee, has probably contributed to his poor season at Old Trafford. With 88 or 35 on his back, Grujic won't have to worry about that.
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