Stefan Bajcetic: Could youngster help solve Liverpool’s midfield problems? | football news

Stefan Bajcetic: Could youngster help solve Liverpool’s midfield problems? | football news

#Stefan #Bajcetic #youngster #solve #Liverpools #midfield #problems #football #news Welcome to InNewCL, here is the new story we have for you today:

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No Liverpool fan would have had Stefan Bajcetic in their starting XI at the start of the season, but now the midfielder is a must for the Reds’ big Saturday night soccer duel at Newcastle United – we introduce the 18-year-old to his first-team promotion and why him Fenway Sports Group may have saved millions in the transfer market this summer.

While Bajcetic’s performance as man of the match in Monday’s Merseyside derby may have surprised some neutral observers, it would not have shocked his team-mates – Mohamed Salah says he is Liverpool’s best player since joining the team earlier this year – or those who have closely followed the beginning of his career with the Reds.

The Spaniard joined the club from Celta Vigo’s youth academy in February 2021 aged 16 for €250,000 when Liverpool beat Manchester United to his signature and after impressing as a centre-back for the U18s and U23s he was qualified for the group stage first-team season tour of Asia and Austria last summer.

Bajcetic – who has a football background with his father Srdan and has played in midfield for Celta and Red Star Belgrade – was an unused substitute in Liverpool’s Premier League opener at Fulham in August, the same month he renewed his contract at Anfield , before he came on as a substitute from the bench and made his debut with 20 minutes remaining in the 9-0 win against Bournemouth.

Other milestones soon followed as Bajcetic became the Reds’ youngest Champions League player after a game against Ajax in September, while he made his debut as a midfielder in November’s League Cup third round win over Derby County.

The Spain Under-18 international, however, made people sit up and take notice when he scored his first goal for the Reds in just his seventh cap and contributed to Boxing Day’s 3-1 win at Aston Villa, the third youngest player to score for the club in the Premier League.

Stefan Bajcetic

And what a strike it was too. With just two minutes on the pitch, Bajcetic showed quick feet in tight spaces to outsmart Villa’s world-champion goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez before calmly rolling the ball through Tyrone Mings’ legs on the line.

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Catch a glimpse of teenager Stefan Bajcetic’s first goal for Liverpool in their Boxing Day win over Aston Villa.

“He’s cheeky as hell and doesn’t worry about anything,” said Klopp of Bajcetic’s performance that evening at Villa Park. “He just plays football and he’s exceptionally good at it.

“He had a football-playing father, so the genes are there, but also the attitude, the awareness and the intelligence of the game.”

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The Monday Night Football squad analyze the performance of Liverpool midfielder Stefan Bajcetic.

However, the youngster really got his chance when Liverpool struggled at the turn of the year, as Klopp responded to back-to-back league defeats at Brentford and Brighton and Hove Albion with drastic changes in midfield.

As a result, Bajcetic, who signed a new long-term deal in January, started with Liverpool’s repeat FA Cup third round win at Wolves in mid-January and retained his place for the Chelsea visit a few days later, taking his first league start for the club – more than just competing against top-class opponents.

Stefan Bajcetic

He gained authority with every game, so much so that his manager even felt confident enough to test his young protégé in an unfamiliar position in eighth place against Everton after Thiago Alcantara picked up a hip flexor injury in training last week.

The results were stunning to see as Bajcetic took to the new role like a duck in water and Klopp beamed when quizzed about him afterwards. He was no doubt reflecting on the various opportunities the versatile youngster has offered him in midfield this season.

Stefan Bajcetic

“Stefan played exceptionally, not because he’s 18 but because he’s exceptional,” the German said of his performance on Monday, with another positive being Fabinho’s most successful performance in a long time, which no doubt helped the energetic youngster was by his side.

Born in Vigo to a Serbian father and Galician mother, Bajcetic could partly explain his versatility, according to Klopp.

Stefan Bajcetic

“A top player,” said the Liverpool manager in Friday’s press conference. “He’s a pleasure to work with. The mix of Serbia and Spain is good for his football. He’s an intelligent boy. Interesting that his father and Thiago’s father (Mazinho, a 1994 World Cup winner with Brazil) played together (in Vigo). Thiago took him under his wing. An absolute delight.”

In particular, his all-round composure and maturity beyond his years in the sweltering atmosphere of a Merseyside derby, which really meant something to both rivals, impressed most, especially when – with his socks rolled down to his ankles – he captured the ball under pressure which reminiscent of Gini Wijnaldum during his time at Anfield.

There’s no doubt that Liverpool have missed the underrated Dutch midfielder badly since his move to Paris Saint-Germain in 2021, but looking ahead to this summer if Bajcetic continues at this pace of development, FSG may just have saved themselves a scale load of money and the need to have one less midfield position.

We know the Reds like James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will lose when their contracts expire at the end of the season, while this season Klopp has shown even without their departures that it’s time to start with the To begin breaking down his favorite midfield trio of the last three years: Thiago, 31, Henderson, 32, and Fabinho, 29.

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WATCH FREE: Highlights of Liverpool’s win over Everton in the Premier League.

Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham and Wolves’ Matheus Nunes are both reportedly on Liverpool’s midfield radar for next season – although you’ll recall the Reds currently have a sporting director leaving this summer with no news of a potential successor – during Jamie Carragher has said his former club need three players in the middle of the park to go forward.

However, the young Spaniard could be that third midfielder.

That’s for later though, now Bajcetic will just focus on his next start, just the minor matter of a crucial trip to Tyneside to take on fourth-placed Newcastle, with whom Liverpool are certain to be battling for last place in the Champions League with an intimidating St .to be James’ Park.

“He’s a pleasure to work with. The mix of Serbia and Spain is good for his football. He’s an intelligent boy. Interesting that his father and Thiago’s father played together. Thiago took him under his wing. A absolute joy.” Jurgen Klopp on Stefan Bajcetic

Don’t expect the curly-haired Spaniard to be upset by the occasion, though. In fact, judging by his sovereign post-game interview alongside Salah on Monday Night Football — “A year ago I played football when I was 18 and now this, it’s crazy…” he said — it’s more likely that his dad the nerves will feel .

Bajcetic Snr watched his son’s breakout game against Everton at home in Vigo, where he now trains, but with the TV turned down to focus fully on his display.

Saturday 18 February 5:00 p.m. Start 5:30 p.m

But he will no doubt have been both proud and pleased with what he saw and with upcoming fixtures against Real Madrid, home and away Champions League round of 16 fixtures, and bitter Premier League rivals United he and Liverpool supporters really need to be able to gauge his progress and whether Klopp has solved any of his midfield problems next season.

Watch Newcastle vs Liverpool on InNewCL Sports Premier League on Saturday from 4:30pm; Kick-off 5:30 p.m

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