Former Liverpool captain Ronnie Whelan is predicting a breakthrough season for Serbian starlet Marko Grujic.

Grujic joined the Reds from Red Star Belgrade last year but injury restricted him to just eight appearances over the course of the campaign.

The 21-year old, though, starred in Liverpool’s recent 4-0 thumping of Tranmere, netting a superb long-range effort.

Whelan was mightily impressed by his performance and has urged him to build on his promising start and push for regular game time.

Whelan, who played nearly 500 games for the Reds, told Liverpool’s official website:

I thought he was very, very good in the game I saw him at Tranmere Rovers.

There is a lot of good stuff about him, his control, his passing and his vision. His link-up play with Georginio Wijnaldum and Daniel Sturridge was good.

He has been unfortunate with injury. I thought he had a good pre-season last year but then got injured.

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He was then in and out of the squad but towards the end of last season he came back and was close to the first team.

Now is the year for him. This is his year to kick-on and to start getting closer every week to the first team, be on the bench, come on and do something and show the manager what he can. It’s a big pre-season for him.”

Whelan believes Grujic can offer Jurgen Klopp’s team a number of useful attributes, most notably his ability to read the game.

“He’s got great vision. He doesn’t have four or five touches on the ball unless he has got something in his head and he’s a clever footballer.

“For me his main attribute is his brain, his footballing brain because he sees passes quickly.”

Grujic faces competition from Jordan Henderson and Emre Can for the holding role in the Liverpool midfield.