As Liverpool took on Fulham in the Premier League on Sunday, Jürgen Klopp made a significant selection call in midfield. Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai, who have both started every game for which they've been available, were dead-certs, and Curtis Jones seemed likely to complete the trio.

Jones had only played 34 minutes in Thursday's 4-0 Europa League win over LASK, while his main competitor Ryan Gravenberch had been on the pitch for 82. Based on the general pattern this season, that would be a precursor to the former starting at the weekend.

This time, though, Klopp went with Gravenberch, a decision that must reflect the current pecking order at Anfield. The Dutchman looked energized by the backing of his manager in the first half, starting the game with the intent and the ambition that has made him such a refreshing purchase.

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He would fade in the second half as his audacious passes stopped coming off and the crowd, frustrated by the Reds' failure to take control of the game, groaned in frustration. In the end, he came off for Wataru Endō with seven minutes to go, but that still made it his joint-longest appearance for the club, level with the 1-1 draw against Luton at the start of last month.

Gravenberch has now reached 390 league minutes for his new club, potentially putting him within two appearances of matching his Bundesliga tally from the entire 2022/23 season with Bayern Munich (559). The 21-year-old only joined on the final day of the transfer window after the Bavarians decided to cut their losses, and according to a report, Liverpool was very close to signing an alternative target.

The Daily Mail claims that Liverpool was 'a whisker away' from landing Sofyan Amrabat from Fiorentina after Klopp called him to persuade him to make the move. However, there was a 'last-minute hitch' stemming from the player's camp, and that made the Reds reconsider. During a 24-hour pause in talks, they decided that Gravenberch was a smarter investment given that he was six years younger and a 'better fit for Klopp's needs'.

Ryan Gravenberch joined Liverpool rather than Sofyan Amrabat
Ryan Gravenberch joined Liverpool rather than Sofyan Amrabat

Amrabat, of course, wound up reuniting with his former Utrecht manager Erik ten Hag at Manchester United instead, joining on an initial loan with an option to buy. Up to this point, he hasn't made the kind of impact that was anticipated.

While he did arrive with an injury, he's been benched for five of the nine Premier League games United has played since he returned, and all of the last four. Unused against Luton and Fulham, he didn't enter the fray until the final 10 minutes as the Red Devils lost 1-0 to Newcastle on Saturday night.

Amrabat was acquired to offer greater support to a struggling and exposed Casemiro, and when the Brazilian got injured, it seemed as if he'd take on an even greater importance. Instead, Ten Hag seems to prefer Scott McTominay and 18-year-old Kobbie Mainoo as it stands.

Gravenberch was expected to be a rotational piece at first rather than a starter like Amrabat, but he's surprisingly played more minutes up to this point (390 vs 341). Right now, as he struggles to win his manager over and Liverpool competes at the top of the table despite electing not to spend big on a defensive midfielder, it certainly looks as if the Reds made the right call at the last minute.