Liverpool have ‘special’ star helping Jurgen Klopp forget Bellingham transfer

‘Special’ Liverpool star Ryan Gravenberch is helping Jurgen Klopp forget about the Reds’ failed pursuit of Jude Bellingham. Gravenberch was Klopp’s final summer signing and has already settled into Liverpool’s new-look midfield after his £34million switch from Bayern Munich.

Klopp made sweeping changes to his team’s core ahead of the season, reacting to a campaign in which the Anfield outfit lacked energy and finished a lowly fifth. Gravenberch and fellow summer arrival Dominik Szoboszlai have injected the dynamism and spark that was missing last term.

The Dutchman’s addition came with its intrigue. He had failed to acclimatise at Bayern Munich after a big-money move from Ajax in the summer of 2022, making only three Bundesliga starts.

But Gravenberch is now thriving after finding a home at Liverpool. His biggest assets – driving runs from midfield, scoring and creating chances – are all comparable with Liverpool’s No 1 summer target Bellingham.

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Liverpool pulled out of a deal for the England starlet early in the window, citing the extortionate cost of an agreement with Borussia Dortmund. The path was cleared for Real Madrid to seal a £100m transfer, while Liverpool waited until late in the summer to lure Gravenberch from Germany.

Bellingham has enjoyed a remarkable start to life in Spain. The 20-year-old has scored 13 goals in as many games for the Spanish giants. Liverpool would have secured the best summer signing had they signed the former Birmingham talent.

But Gravenberch has proved to be the best possible alternative. At 21, he shares a similar age profile to Bellingham and could be a key part of Liverpool’s midfield for the next decade. It is unlikely that Klopp is still reeling over missing out on the latter.

“We see the Ryan of Ajax,” Klopp’s assistant Pep Ljinders said on Tuesday. “That’s why the club is so important, a player who doesn’t play will never get confident. We know that a player without confidence is not the same.

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“I’m not sure what happened at Bayern, he comes here – with full trust – then we knew with training, good conversations, showing the idea with the clarity of the whole group that we have a special player.

“His vision, his touch, Ryan has everything to be an eight like that, he arrives, shoots and has a mentality to score. Thank you scouting and I like it when the squad is a bit more orange.”

Gravenberch is in excellent form at Liverpool after a difficult year in Germany. As part of a vastly improved midfield at Anfield, his performances are proving that Klopp was right to make the difficult decision to move on from his interest in Bellingham.

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