The Serbian midfielder played under Neil Warnock and believes the Reds will have their work cut out in Sunday’s crunch clash
Liverpool have been warned that their trip to Cardiff on Sunday will be no easy ride.
Having seen Manchester City beat Tottenham on Saturday, the Reds can go back to the top of the table with a victory in South Wales.
Jurgen Klopp’s side will, naturally, be strong favourites heading into the game, but with the Bluebirds desperate for points in their battle against relegation, it promises to be another intriguing clash.
Reds midfielder Marko Grujic has intimate knowledge of Cardiff, having spent five months on loan there last season.
And the Serbian, currently enjoying a productive season on loan with Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga, spoke to Goal about what Liverpool can expect from Neil Warnock’s side.
“Liverpool will know what is to come,” Grujic said. “It will be a direct style, some long balls and then pressing to try and attack the second ball in the opponents’ half. They rarely change.
“Some people criticise Neil Warnock because of the way his teams play. He’s seen as someone who plays only long-ball football or a direct style, but he always has a clear plan. And most of the time, it works.
“It’s about security. He doesn’t want to lose many balls in the middle, he wants to play long and then to press high and win the ball closer to the goal. That’s what Cardiff will do on Sunday.”
Grujic made 14 appearances at Cardiff during the 2017/18 season, helping Warnock’s side to an unlikely promotion.
And though Warnock remains one of English football’s most divisive and controversial managers, the 23-year-old has nothing but kind words for the veteran.
“It was a good experience for me to work under him,” he said. “He’s really popular with the players, a very funny guy who knows how to motivate people.
“For me, I needed someone like him at that point in my career. Before every game, he focuses a lot on defending and that’s how I look at football as well. If you defend well, then you will always have a chance even against a good team.
“My first meetings before I signed, he was very funny. I met him in the stadium and he told me I was bigger than I sounded on the phone! He spoke a lot with me and my father as well, and told me immediately that I would play. He’s a direct guy, says what he thinks.
“What he did with us in the Championship was great. We were not expected to get promoted but he got us playing to a specific style and it worked.
“And then look at this season. Look at a team like Fulham, who spent much more money than Cardiff but got nothing to show for it.
“Cardiff still have a chance to stay in the league, and I am really hoping they can do so because it’s a great club and I really enjoyed my time there. I will be interested to see the result.”
Grujic will be in action himself on Sunday, returning for Hertha’s home game with Hannover. The former Red Star Belgrade man has made 19 appearances with the German outfit this term, and has stated recently that he would be happy to stay there next season.
Liverpool, though, will assess their options in the summer. Grujic is likely to be used on the club’s pre-season tour of the USA, and will have no shortage of suitors if Liverpool decide to loan or sell.
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