(During the next 30 days, starting May 10th, CroatianSports will be giving “season grades” to 30 of Croatia’s most important football players: Starting XI, bench, fringe, prospects. Grades will be given on preseason expectations vs. actual season performance; not stats.)
Day 12: Marko Livaja
Season Grade: A-
Clutch goal vs. Canada during the group stages of the 2022 World Cup.
Team Next Season:
98% certain he stays at Hajduk, 2% chance a top-5 league side pursues him.
What to Improve Next Season:
If Livaja remains at his current level, he will 100% be the Prva Liga scoring king again next season. Livaja is miles above the rest in league play, and should technically be competing at a higher level. Given that he will likely remain with Hajduk for the rest of his career, there’s not much for him to improve on. Stay away from suspensions, I guess?!?!
What the Future Holds:
Hopefully a Prva Liga trophy. If anyone can save Hajduk from their notorious trophy drought, it’s Livaja. Expect a 20-goal + 10-assist season in 2023-24 for the soon-to-be 30 year-old striker. At the end of the day, Livaja had a remarkable season with over 30 goal contributions for his club. The only things holding him back from an A+ are his average play with the national team and the fact that he’s not competing in a top-6 league.
With Musa and Beljo flying through the ranks, Livaja will probably lose playing time with the national team as he ages. His energy will be spent on his Hajduk side, and the task of dethroning Dinamo for the top spot in Croatia.