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Jack Grealish’s Liverpool display justifies Dirk Kuyt’s controversial criticism

Jack Grealish was unable to exert his influence during Sunday’s pulsating Premier League draw between Liverpool and Manchester City, as Pep Guardiola substituted him off when chasing an equaliser

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Liverpool v Man City: Match in pictures

Sunday’s enthralling Premier League encounter between Liverpool and Manchester City was a pulsating spectacle between two sides with title ambitions.

A barn-storming second half saw the Reds twice taking the lead through Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah with Phil Foden and then Kevin de Bruyne hitting back for Pep Guardiola’s side.

There was a superb midfield display from City’s Bernardo Silva while Diogo Jota was a threat throughout for the home side prior to being replaced by Roberto Firmino.

The one keynote attacking starter who had little impact on the game was City’s Jack Grealish; the most expensive ever signing by a Premier League club.



Jack Grealish was frustrated for Man City at Anfield
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Image:

Andrew Yates/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)




The England international was afforded a start by Guardiola but struggled to stamp his influence over the game.

His low-key performance was highlighted by the fact he was subbed off midway through the second half, with Raheem Sterling coming on, when City were chasing an equaliser – the only substitute the visitors made during the match.

Grealish was the only major arrival at the Premier League champions this summer and his £100million price tag will inevitably draw focus and, when it is merited, enhanced scrutiny.

The former Aston Villa playmaker’s price tag was criticised ahead of the encounter by former Liverpool forward Dirk Kuyt.









In an exclusive interview with the Mirror, Kuyt said: “The hype and success of the Premier League has an effect on the players’ values.

“Just look at the price tags on them these days.

“Jack Grealish went for £100million to City. That’s three times the value of what he’s really worth.”

Grealish has now featured in all seven of City’s Premier League matches this season and he has found the net just once – in the 5-0 rout over Norwich – and provided only one assist.

It is interesting to compare these numbers to his output at Villa last season – when he scored four goals and assisted four more.

Indeed, it was this weekend a year ago when he put in a virtuoso performance – netting twice and assisting three – in an incredible 7-2 rout over the Reds.



Kevin de Bruyne scored Man City’s second equaliser at Anfield
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Andrew Yates/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)




Bournemouth boss Scott Parker compared Grealish’s price tag to the inflation of the price of a pint of milk and claimed that such fees are “what football has become”.

Parker said: “Times have moved fast in that sense, but like anything we look back on, we look back on how much a pint of milk cost 10, 20 years ago, it’s a lot more expensive now.

“That’s the way the world moves, what football has become. I have no grudges.”

Grealish welcomed the challenge of matching the expectations following the move, and said after the deal was completed: “It don’t put no pressure on me whatsoever.

“I take that as a compliment. I actually like it, I think it is a good tag to have.

“I think when you see a football club paying that much for a player it means they trust and value you highly and see so much potential there to work with.

“I just see it as a good thing. I just hope now I can repay this whole football club by winning as many titles as possible and winning that trophy is all we want.”



Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus celebrate for Man City after linking up for the equaliser at Anfield
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Grealish has a different role at City – where he is now part of a superb attacking orchestra – compared to his place at Villa, where he was the conductor.

It is little surprise that his attacking output and direct goal involvement has dipped, whereby his pass completion rate now stands at 89 percent compared to 79 percent at the same stage last season.

Yet it will inevitably take players time to adapt to a new system and a new responsibility, meaning that fans of City will have to show patience before seeing the true value of Grealish.

Riyad Mahrez – one of the players to miss out on a starting spot on Sunday – claimed in midweek that Grealish was settling in at the Etihad.

Mahrez told L’Equipe: “Yeah, sure he’s fitting in well. He’s adapted to the way we play. I think the coach and the team are really helping him.

“He’s playing in a lot of games, of course, which makes it easier to fit in. When I arrived, I didn’t play in all the games straight away.”

The scrutiny over Grealish’s performances are normal, as are criticisms over the price tag, but that is only likely to increase after an ineffectual showing at Anfield.


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