What happened when Liverpool’s £25m target faced them as an 18-year-old

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The former Ajax midfielder has faced Liverpool in the past and impressed at Anfield.

Liverpool are hoping to consolidae a long-standing interest in Bayern Munich’s Ryan Gravenberch by signing him this week, but how did he fare when he faced Liverpool as an 18-year-old?

Gravenberch, 21, was once considered one of the best young talents in European football after breaking into the first-team at Ajax as a youngster but he has spent the last year on the periphery at Bayern Munich.

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Despite that, he has 137 appearances for both the Dutch club and Bayern combined and boasts a strong level of experience both domestically and in European competitions.

Gravenberch made just three Bundesliga starts in 2022-23, and only twice played more than 45 minutes in a league match which means its unclear what player Liverpool are currently getting.

However, he’s got fantastic all-round attributes that could make him a huge success at Anfield, should a £25m deal be completed in the next few days. The only issue is that Bayern want to source a replacement, with Fulham’s Joao Palhinha being targeted.

One interesting thing to note is Gravenberch has faced Liverpool before; back in the 2020/21 season, his side was drawn in the same Champions League group as Jurgen Klopp’s men, where he started both games - home and away - and impressed as an 18-year-old.

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In the game at Anfield, which was played behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he started on the left of a midfield three with Edson Alvarez and Davy Klaassen, and faced off against a midfield three of Fabinho, Georginio Wijnaldum and Curtis Jones.

Despite his age, he produced a classy all-round performance which best demonstrates what Gravenberch is all about, especially on the ball; he recorded a 90% pass success rate out of 70 passes attempted, one key pass and managed three out of four long balls.

Defensively, he won seven of his 10 ground duels, made two tackles and one interception. Plus, he managed four of six dribbles which only further shows his all-round ability.

His individual highlights for that game show him putting players on the turf, receiving the ball from deep, putting crosses in as well as showing a confidence to carry the ball - that was three years ago and he’s only matured as a player since then.

We could see him thrive at Liverpool under a manager such as Klopp who has managed to improve players drastically during his time at the club should a deal be struck.

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