How Marko Grujic overcame illness to influence U23s win
Marko Grujic overcame illness to play an influential role in Liverpool U23s' impressive win over Manchester United.
The midfielder followed up a brief outing for the first team at Wembley on Sunday by starting for Neil Critchley’s side in their Premier League 2 encounter.
Grujic’s presence in the centre of the pitch aided the young Reds during a 3-1 victory at Leigh Sports Village, the Serb restoring their advantage with a header from a corner when the score was level.
And that despite there being a decision for Critchley and his staff to make on whether the 21-year-old would even continue in the second half due to illness.
“We asked Marko to do a specific job for us as a No.6. Maybe he’s better as a No.8 or No.10, but he’s good on the ball and he controlled the game for us,” the U23s manager told Liverpoolfc.com.
“He’s very good in both penalty boxes so it’s not a surprise he scored with a header at that end. But some of his defensive headers were excellent as well.
“He was struggling a little bit at half-time with illness and we were undecided whether to keep him on, but he wanted to stay on and thankfully we did.”
LFCTV GO: Highlights of the 3-1 win
Ovie Ejaria and Harry Wilson were also on target for Liverpool on the night and the result increased the lead at the summit of Premier League 2 for Critchley’s side to five points.
“We played very well in the first half and completely dominated the game. We were disappointed to only be 1-0 up at half-time,” he reflected.
“In the second half, the longer it goes on at 1-0 you know they are always likely to create an opportunity. I felt we contributed to our own downfall a little bit at the start of the second half; we spoke about that at half-time, about being concentrated in possession and punishing them. I felt we gave them some impetus and confidence in the second half.
“But our character after that, at 1-1, was excellent. And I think 3-1, even though they had a couple of chances in the second half, was the right scoreline.”