Jurgen Klopp shares why he decided not to bring Ryan Gravenberch off the bench
The 21-year-old has generally had a positive time of things since signing from Bayern Munich over the summer. But over the past couple of months, Gravenberch’s performances have deteriorated.
Last week at Arsenal was perhaps the low point of that run. Jurgen Klopp was spotted going berserk at the Dutchman after Bukayo Saka had put the Gunners into the lead.
That led to Gravenberch starting today’s game against Burnley on the bench. Still, the No.38 usually comes on even if he’s not in the line up. That didn’t happen today.
But speaking to BBC Sport after the match, Klopp confirmed that the reason behind Gravenberch’s no-show was actually fitness, not form related.
“It was a really tough situation. Ryan Gravenberch before warming up, feels the groin slightly,” said the manager. “Everybody told me then afterwards, ‘no, no it’s fine.’ Yes, but I cannot bring on a player who feels the groin a little bit before the game.”
Gravenberch not risked vs Burnley
Klopp was absolutely right not to bring Gravenberch on if he had felt a little twinge prior to the game.
Liverpool could arguably have done with the former Ajax youngster’s ball carrying on a day where they were struggling a little to get up the pitch fluidly.
However, with a number of players already ruled out for the time being, there was no need to add one more to that pile.
However, as Harvey Elliott’s excellent display from the bench showed, the Reds do still have quality options in there. They were fine today in the end.
Interestingly though, Elliott’s terrific performance may actually have put a little more pressure on Gravenberch. The 20-year-old really showed what he’s capable of.
With Gravenberch unable to get out there and make a difference himself, his disappointing turn at Arsenal is still lingering in the memory.
Already behind a clutch of players for game time, the Netherlands international may now have slipped down past Elliott, too.
Of course there’s plenty of the season left to go and we’re sure Ryan will improve. Klopp reportedly still has faith in him, too. But he’ll have been frustrated not to have gotten on today nonetheless.