Although Stefan Bajcetic hasn’t played much for Liverpool in the last nine months, there are still a lot of expectations for the adaptable Spaniard.
Arriving from Celta Vigo as a budding center-back, he was soon transferred to the Reds’ academy and has since primarily played in midfield for the starting squad.
Under Klopp, Bajcetic has primarily played as a No. 8 except for a brief stint in the hybrid right-back position before another injury derailed his progress this season.
However, Klopp’s assistant manager recounted the boss’s initial decision in a section from Pepijn Lijnders’ book Intensity: Inside Liverpool FC.
He wrote about a meeting with Vitor Matos, Liverpool’s top development coach, in early 2022, saying, “We have this Stefan [Bajcetic],”
“He’s doing well, Pep.” Examine it closely. During training, he plays in front of our defence with wisdom and understanding.
“He usually played in the U18s back line, but Jurgen suggested he could play No. 6 for us right away.
We had been looking for a good No. 6 for a while, so I was overjoyed. I hope he gets the chance to take this job eventually.
Bajcetic was the club’s last signing before new regulations prohibiting foreign arrivals under the age of 18 were implemented, having been signed on the eve of Brexit in December 2020.
Consequently, it took him a little more than a year to come off the first team’s radar. In August 2022, he made his competitive debut.
With 21 outings under his belt thus far, it appears that he will eventually take up the position of No. 6.
Should he do so, his adaptability may indicate a long-term plan for the deep-lying midfielder to play more like Alexis Mac Allister plays now, as opposed to a typical destroyer.
His current fitness problems are not concerning because, as a player who turned 19 in October, they are a result of his body developing naturally.
Furthermore, his importance to Liverpool shouldn’t be questioned because he left a lasting impact on Lijnders and Klopp two years ago.
Lijnders went on, “You only have seven seconds to make a first impression that will determine whether people think well or poorly of you.”
“But it’s probably 70 minutes for a football player, so congratulations, Stefan!”