You have to spare a thought for Marko Grujic.
Jurgen Klopp’s first signing following his appointment at Liverpool, yet still only with 16 first-team appearances to his name.
Indeed Grujic’s shining moment in a red shirt so far has been scoring a looping header in a 4-0 pre-season friendly win over Barcelona in 2016.
At that stage, the midfielder could perhaps have been forgiven for thinking he might be on the cusp of making the breakthrough at Anfield.
Since then, though, the Serbian has been shipped out on no fewer than four loan spells, and now admits he is “confused” by the mixed messages he is receiving from the Liverpool manager.
After returning to the club in the summer, it looked as though Grujic could be sold, with Klopp seemingly deeming the 24-year-old surplus to requirements – a fate Grujic had accepted.
“I went through preparations with the club, after two years in the Bundesliga, I returned more mature to England,” he said to Serbian news outlet Kurir (via The Echo ). “That’s what they told me in Liverpool.
“But when Thiago Alcantara came from Bayern (Munich), I estimated that there would not be much space for me. I didn’t want to gamble.
“I see now that there are a lot of injured players at Anfield. It is certain that I would get a chance, but I could not have foreseen that.”
Liverpool are keen to repeat last season’s success – and you don’t want to miss a thing, surely?
From all of Liverpool’s updates to the must-read Reds stories, get them straight to your inbox without fuss by signing up for the fantastic Mirror Football newsletter!
It’s been an extremely interesting start to the season for Jurgen Klopp’s men.
They got their title defence off to a shaky start as they edged out a seven-goal thriller against Leeds, before going on to conceded seven in a hammering by Aston Villa.
Virgil van Dijk’s season was ended by injury in the 2-2 draw at Everton, leaving the title favourites looking far less secure at the back – especially with Alisson’s injury worries too.
But there’s no slowing down in what is going to be a busy campaign – with Klopp ensuring his men continue at full pace as they bid for more title glory.
The easiest way to keep up with everything going on at Anfield? It’s by signing up.
Put your email at the top of this article or follow the instructions on this link.
A loan move to Porto was then agreed as the transfer deadline loomed, after a permanent switch to Werder Bremen fell through.
The Bundesliga club were simply not prepared to meet Liverpool’s asking price, forcing Grujic to seek regular action on a temporary basis again elsewhere.
But his conversations with Klopp continue to leave Grujic baffled.
Asked if he’d spoken to his boss, he replied: “Of course. I believe that they believe in me. In every conversation, whether it’s Klopp or one of the directors, they always remind me that I am a player of great potential.
“But when I get into the system I don’t get a chance. It confuses me a little.”
Should Grujic be given a chance at Liverpool? Have your say below.
Arguably a victim of Liverpool’s rapid progression, Grujic will likely be sold in the summer, providing potential suitors are willing to stump up the cash.
But with a contract that runs until 2023, he’s not banking on avoiding another loan spell.
“They certainly want to make money on me,” he added. “The English are quite demanding during the negotiations. They do not lack money and can close the amount they want. So it is with me.
“It was unrealistic that they asked for 20 million euros for me, so the loan was the most realistic.”