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Jürgen Klopp could sign a second Stefan Bajcetic at Liverpool next season



Jürgen Klopp could sign a second Stefan Bajcetic at Liverpool next season

Liverpool have a lot of talent coming from their academy.

Liverpool star Stefan Bajcetic received critical acclaim for his performance in the Reds’ Merseyside derby win on Monday night. In young Tyler Morton, manager Jurgen Klopp has another starlet who could allay the German’s worries about the club’s midfield.

Bajcetic – who had never played as the number 8 and had only recently moved from centre-back to midfield – was outstanding against Everton. “We are very happy with him, a great guy, very intelligent and calm,” said Klopp of the young Spaniard after the 2-0 win. “And we put him in a new position. I don’t think he’s ever played in this position before. He came here as a kid as a centre-back, he’s played a few games as a six for us and tonight as an eight. He did very well.

While Bajcetic was a surprise star in Liverpool’s otherwise dismal season in the Premier League, academy member Morton excelled with Blackburn in the Championship. The 20-year-old made several appearances for Liverpool last season, including the classic 2-2 win at Tottenham in December 2021. But it was decided that the England U20 international would be loaned out for a season to gain experience. He has been impressive in regular appearances for Blackburn in the second tier, as has current Reds star Harvey Elliott in 2020-21.

Often playing in the deepest positions of midfield in a 4-2-3-1 formation, Morton’s hard tackling and range of passing stood out. In 33 appearances in all competitions, Morton made 1.5 tackles per game and 1.3 key passes per game.

His fighting style would help refresh a Liverpool midfielder who has aged. “You can see he went to a good school, Liverpool’s school, Jurgen Klopp’s school, you can see,” Blackburn manager John Dahl Tomasson said after a Player of the Match game in October.

“He’s enjoying life here at Rovers, boy I like him because he’s becoming important.”

Morton signed a new long-term deal with Liverpool in January and revealed he has been attending matches at Anfield. Keeping in touch with his parents could allow for a smooth transition into the first team next season.

“I’m a Liverpool fan and I’m from the region so it will always be with me,” he said. “I still go to matches, nothing has changed. In a way it’s nice because I can focus on my football and Blackburn, but in the back of my mind there’s also Liverpool because they’re the team I support and the team I I love”.

And Morton can be sure he’ll have a chance to impress Klopp in the summer. With Bajcetic getting regular senior minutes and a midfield overhaul looming, Morton will be hoping to seize the opportunity with both hands.


Cody Gakpo sends Premier League warning after heeding Virgil van Dijk’s message

January signing Cody Gakpo beat his goalscoring duck for Liverpool against Everton in Monday night’s Merseyside derby as the Reds ended a horror run in the Premier League

Cody Gakpo insisted there was plenty more to come – from him and his team – after finally smashing his Liverpool duck in the derby.

The £45m signing in January had gone exactly 546 minutes without a goal or assist since moving to Anfield… finally smashing his duck in the best way possible to seal victory over bitter rivals Everton.

It was a goal that manager Jurgen Klopp later said was “that goal that all strikers dream of when it hasn’t happened for a while; really important,” acknowledged the Dutch World Cup star. “Guys who say they don’t mind not scoring are lying – so it was a really good moment for me and I’m really happy about it,” he explained.

“The dream is that you score from the first minute of the first game you play. In the end, I had to wait a bit but I’m really happy to have been able to score this goal in the derby.

Virgil (van Dijk) told me all about the derby and said it was going to be a big fight. He also reminds me that he scored his first goal against Everton – so it was an incredible moment for the team and for me.”

Gakpo came with a huge reputation after a thrilling World Cup, where he helped lead Holland to a quarter-final showdown, with eventual winners Argentina only losing on penalties after a draw spectacular.

But he suffered from the wait and the difficulty of integrating a team that was struggling when he arrived. Now that he’s rid of his back, he says the goal is simple for him and his team:

Cody Gakpo sends Premier League warning after heeding Virgil van Dijk's message

“The goal now (for me) is to score a lot more points. And this is the start of hopefully a few games in a row where we can take all the points and win.

“It’s really important to get the first win of the year. Everyone knew we were struggling a bit, but we know we have a lot of quality and we can turn things around and that’s the first step.”

The win changes the whole dynamic for a Liverpool side that seemed to have given up the fight for a top-four spot after a disastrous start.

Cody Gakpo sends Premier League warning after heeding Virgil van Dijk's message

They travel to Newcastle on Saturday knowing a win will leave them just six points behind the club, who are currently fourth in the table… and that Klopp’s side are one game short.

Gakpo knows his place is under pressure despite his goal as Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino have both returned from injury and Luis Diaz will join them soon. But he relishes the challenge and welcomes the return of this quality. “We all know what they can do on the pitch, so it just makes us stronger,” he stressed. “We have more options, more quality and more chances to win matches. That’s the most important thing at the moment, whatever helps us put together a winning streak.”