Liverpool midfielder Marko Grujic expecting to do 'big things' at Anfield
Liverpool new boy Marko Grujic says that he has the confidence to make his time at Anfield a success.
Grujic, 20, signed for Reds from Red Star Belgrade in a £5.1 million move back January but remained at his boyhood club on loan till the end of the season to help them lift the Serbian title.
After making his Premier League debut off the bench against Burnley, the highly-rated midfielder caught up with ESPN FC.
Q. You've obviously had the preseason with the team. How have you settled in?
A. It was a very good preseason for me. When I came here from Serbia I knew I would have to take new steps in my career and that it would be hard. It was hard because it was a first preseason with Liverpool and some training was harder than at my old club in Serbia but every day I adapted more for this new kind of training. Everything is good now.
Q. Has adjusting to the football been easier than adjusting to a change in country and lifestyle?
A. It wasn't too hard to adapt; Liverpool is a nice city. Before I came I found an apartment in the city centre and it is close to everything. I will try to now concentrate on football and when I have free time I always use it for rest and to be ready for the next session.
Q. You signed in January and then went back to Red Star on loan. How was it knowing that you'd be coming to Liverpool in the summer?
A. I tried to prepare for a new level because everyone knows the Premier League is one of the hardest in the world; physically you need to be fully fit and you need to run a lot. I tried to prepare for six months, which is why I wanted to stay at Red Star -- of course to win the title but to do some extra training in the gym and running so when I came here in July I could train with everyone on the same level.
Q. Does the name 'Anfield' mean a lot in Serbia?
A. Of course. In my country people love Liverpool and Anfield is one of the most famous stadiums in the world. I watched some videos on the internet about past games. For example, I watched the game against Dortmund [a 4-3 win in April] when Dejan [Lovren] scored and the atmosphere was very good. I know how he can feel in that moment. I look forward to playing at Anfield and to hear our anthem at the start.
Q. You've spoken about Liverpool being the next step of your development. Has it been a change of mentality for you so far? Because at Red Star last season it was your breakthrough and you were starting all the time and there was all this hype around you...
A. Of course. But I know I'm still a young guy and here there are many talented young guys. All of us need to work harder than the older guys to get the chance and when we get the chance to use it. I prepare in my head for one year or six months -- I don't know how long -- to work hard, to try and get the coach to see I'm ready for battle in the Premier League. The most important thing when I get the chance is to use it. I prepare for that moment. I am sure it will be soon, but we had a small break with the national team and now I came back here to train. I am sure I will get that chance.
Q. You celebrated a few preseason goals quite wildly. How much more special will it be celebrating in a competitive game?
A. I didn't make some plan for celebrating, but when I scored I just showed my passion and it was a very big moment for me. In my first game for Liverpool [a 5-0 win over Fleetwood Town] I scored and in the second game again [a 4-0 win over Barcelona]. After Barcelona the feeling was so amazing. I've never played in front of 89,000 people before and then I scored -- I don't know what I do when score!
Q. Have you received any tactical instructions about what your role is and what the coaching staff want from you?
A. There hasn't been particular tactical requirements for me, just instructions for all the midfielders. I know winning the second ball is very important, especially against teams that want to play long. We try to all defend together, and not to be passive in our half, to always make sure we are aggressive. These are the kind of things I'm getting better and better at with experience, but I'm still learning.
We have all worked together only for two months now, and I know every player will keep improving. With every match, we will grow better as a team.
Q. How much influence has Jurgen Klopp had on your game so far?
A. He told me I'm a very talented player, and I just need to work to improve myself. Preseason went very well for me, but that's just preseason and now I need to adapt fully to the Premier League. But I've seen that I can work nicely with my teammates, even against strong teams like Chelsea for example, and that's what gives me confidence that I can do big things with Liverpool.
Glenn is ESPN FC's Liverpool correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter: @GlennPrice94.