Liverpool 5-1 Toulouse | Europa League Man of the Match
After a nice and steady start to his Liverpool career, this seemed to be the evening where the former Bayern Munich player decided it was time to run a game from the moment he stepped onto the Anfield pitch. With brief flashes of his undeniable brilliance in the months prior, it seems like the gentle approach undertaken by his German manager is exactly what the 21-year-old needed.
The pressure and expectation on the world-renowned wonder-kid of yesteryear have been lessened and brought in line with the level that he needs to succeed. Tonight, he more than succeeded, with a remarkable display of brilliance.
WHAT HAVE WE JUST WITNESSED?! 😅
— Football on TNT Sports (@footballontnt) October 26, 2023
The first half was a case of the former Ajax man being continually determined to carry the ball at pace, with the retreating defense unable and unsure of how best to stop the 6ft 3inch athlete. With a gliding nature to his dribbling and ball carrying, the fleet-footed man from the Netherlands is now looking like a player that could explode onto the Premier League in the coming weeks.
Much of what actually worked in the final third (of a largely disjointed first period of play) was due to Gravenberch’s unwavering desire to penetrate and drive through the gears. Liverpool 2.0 is formulating a system that encourages and allows attack-minded midfielders to enter the final third at will. Given this, the man who failed so spectacularly in the Bundesliga has finally found a home where he can fully develop his limitless talents and potential.
Ryan Gravenberch today in Europa
3 chances created
96% pass accuracy
5 ball recoveries
7/11 duels won
2/3 tackles won
2 interceptions pic.twitter.com/7O2u47X9XJ
— Moby (@Mobyhaque1) October 26, 2023
If the first half was about running the game, the second half was about ending the match as a contest. Though Darwin was electric and full of uncontrollable speed and desire this evening, the finesse of our new midfield Dutchman was impossible not to praise a little bit more. Liverpool’s fourth goal of the evening was all about the surge and power of our Uruguayan striker, who fooled the beleaguered defender, rounded the aimless keeper, before hitting the post of an empty goal. The rebounded effort was expertly collected and dispatched by an advancing Gravenberch, who then slotted the ball into the bottom corner.
Tonight’s man of the match is a deserving award for a player who is looking like a certain starter for this weekend’s game in Klopp’s first-team elite.
The key point will be to manage the expectations for Ryan Gravenberch once again; however, after this wonderful display in the Europa League, it is almost impossible for Liverpool to not dream about what could come next.