Liverpool's former Dutch stars back Ryan Gravenberch over early difficulties

Former Liverpool midfielder Boudewijn Zenden has backed his countryman Ryan Gravenberch to shine at Liverpool, once he properly acclimatises.

21-year-old Gravenberch was the Reds' fourth and final signing of the summer transfer window, arriving in a £34m deal from Bayern Munich on deadline day.

The former Ajax star had been a Liverpool target for some time, but has still been eased into life slowly at Anfield by Jurgen Klopp.

After three goal involvements in his first three starts, Gravenberch made a Premier League starting lineup for the first time in Liverpool's 2-0 Merseyside derby win over Everton on Saturday.

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Zenden, who spent two seasons at Anfield between 2005 and 2007, has claimed Liverpool fans will really see what Gravenberch can do once he adjusts to the challenges of the new league.

“I generally think that all players who come new to the Premier League actually need time to acclimatise,” he told Dutch YouTube channel Soccer News.

“The way of playing is different than in other competitions. The number of matches with the intensity that they’re played at (is difficult).

“So, for Gravenberch I think that he will gradually start to feel better and that he will certainly be important. The only question is what role that will be?

“Is he going to play a more conservative role, one with more freedom going forward as the defensive midfielder is usually Mac Allister. So yeah, Gravenberch is of course a player who comes with the Ajax DNA who wants to shift and appear in spaces.”

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Meanwhile, another Dutchman and former Liverpool favourite, Dirk Kuyt, has backed Gravenberch over his controversy-provoking decision to decline an international call-up back in September.

Liverpool's number 38 was selected for the Netherlands Under-21 squad back in September, but turned down the invitation in order to stay and train at his new club.

© Proshots - Ryan Gravenberch

It was a decision that caused debate in his homeland, while he was pointedly left out of selection for either the Under-21 or senior squads during the October international break.

Speaking to Redmen TV, Kuyt sided with Gravenberch over the incident: “I think the federation was not really happy that he stayed in Liverpool.

“But, as I know how difficult it is move to move from one club to another, I think made the right decision to do so.

“It’s not that every player should do it every time, but this was the right moment to settle in, to make things work. It’s not only about training at Liverpool, it’s settling in the city.”

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