JUST NOW: Jürgen Klopp adds a key player to his starting lineup.

Jürgen Klopp is already mimicking Luis Daz’s strategy, as Liverpool finds a ‘natural’ $44 million fit.
Jürgen Klopp’s training-ground statement demonstrates that the Liverpool boss is sticking to his Luis Daz strategy 18 months after the Colombian’s $61 million arrival.

Ryan Gravenberch had largely played in a midfield two or three at Ajax, his last club where he started consistently, but now he’s practically working in a four at Liverpool.

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When the Reds control the ball, Jürgen Klopp effectively uses two defensive midfielders behind two advanced number eights, with the full-back frequently shifting inside.

In an interview with Liverpool’s official website following his entire debut against LASK in the Europa League on Thursday night, the $44 million (£37 million/€40 million) summer signing from Bayern Munich was asked about the differences between his new role and past positions under previous managers.


“Actually, no,” he replied. “Yesterday after training, [Klopp] came to me and said, ‘You know, you can do whatever you want, of course you have to do your things, but he just said, ‘Feel free and show yourself and the Ryan you are.'”
Gravenberch made a good performance on his debut start, providing an excellent assist for Luis Daz’s goal in the second half and drawing more fouls (four) than any of his teammates due to his elusive dribbling style.

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And the good news for Klopp is that he can and will improve. His performance was sloppy, as he failed to complete 30% of his passes and made some questionable decisions on the ball, but that can be attributed to a lack of match sharpness given that he’d only played 10 Bundesliga minutes before making his move, and only came on in stoppage time against Wolves last weekend.

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Gravenberch will undoubtedly appear better as Klopp gradually communicates more information about the complexities of his role on and off the field. For the time being, he’s mostly letting him be himself on the field, even if he still has to execute the fundamentals pressing because Liverpool can’t afford any passengers.

The purpose here is most likely to reestablish the player’s confidence following what would have been a disastrous period at Bayern, when he only played 586 league minutes in two seasons. Klopp has given him permission to take risks and nearly find his footballing identity.

There are parallels here with his attitude to mentoring Daz in the early months of the Colombian’s Anfield career after his $61 million (£50 million/€58 million) signing from Porto in January 2022.

“I thought, ‘OK, why shouldn’t we try it then?’, just without five million informations, just let him play,” Klopp stated after the winger made his debut against Leicester (via This is Anfield). “He obviously watched us, and we showed him a lot of situations, but it looks natural in a way.”

This strategy had immediate dividends, with Daz becoming perhaps Liverpool’s stand-out attacker in his first half-season and thriving with the freedom he was allowed as Klopp gradually established his ideology.

The long-term benefit should become obvious in what he hopes will be his first full season with the club (Daz was sidelined from October to April last season due to injury). He has three goals in his first five outings this season.

It remains to be seen whether Gravenberch will be substantially involved in the next weeks and months, as Daz was, but he is also seen as a natural fit. That explains why he’s been a long-term target for Klopp since his days in the Ajax development ranks.

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