Connect with us


Liverpool’s best player! Teen star urged to shine against New Castle- Jurgen Klopp and Mo Salah sing his praises



The 18-year-old Spaniard was a rare positive in a disappointing season at Anfield and his fan base is growing week, by week

Liverpool fans have spent much of this season looking for light in the dark and in Stefan Bajcetic they have certainly found it.

“Hopefully, he stays with that confidence and just keeps going.”

Those are not empty words from the Egyptian.

Bajcetic only made his professional debut in August, but he has started each of Liverpool’s last five matches, playing with maturity, confidence and conviction in a side which has been lacking all three. His performance against Everton, an eye-catching mix of steel and swagger, was his best yet.

“Outstanding,” said Jamie Carragher on commentary. Over on Instagram, another Reds legend, Steven Gerrard, made his feelings clear. “Brilliant,” he commented beneath a post confirming Bajcetic’s man-of-the-match selection.

Carragher and Gerrard, of course, know what it’s like to break into Liverpool’s first team as a teenager, and to make an early impact.

Carragher scored on his full debut for the club as an 18-year-old, while Gerrard’s potential was clear from the moment he started tackling all-comers and spraying the ball to all corners on his first Anfield start.

That game was against Celta Vigo, Bajcetic’s home-town club and the one which helped mould him into the player he is today.

Liverpool transfer news LIVE - Neymar offered, Mason Mount latest, Roberto Firmino contract

He joined at the age of nine, and his father, the former Serbian international Srdan Bajcetic, spent three years there between 1994 and 1997, playing alongside Mazinho, the father of current Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara.

Bajcetic moved to Liverpool at the end of 2020, the Reds completing a deal on New Year’s Eve, hours before the United Kingdom officially left the European Union and new Premier League rules prohibiting visas for Under-18 players came into effect.

Their academy director, Alex Inglethorpe, and recruitment chief, Matt Newberry, had worked hard to persuade Bajcetic to snub interest from elsewhere, notably Manchester United, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla.

The compensation paid to Celta of around £224,000 ($269,000) was significant enough for a 16-year-old but, a little over two years later, looks like it could end up being one of the great Liverpool bargains.

Bajcetic played mainly as a centre-back at Celta, and his early games for Liverpool’s U18 side were at the back, where his natural athleticism and prodigious aerial ability stood out immediately.

“His jumping and timing is the best I’ve ever seen,” an academy staffer told GOAL in the summer of 2021, after an impressive performance in a friendly in Kirkby.

He impressed enough in his first full season at Merseyside, despite being cut short by a back injury, to get a chance with Klopp’s first team on their pre-season trip to the Far East, and his training levels and performances in the friendlies – especially those against Manchester United and RB Leipzig – have seen him rise rapidly up the pecking order.

Injuries and circumstances meant his league debut came quickly, a 20-minute run-in in August’s 9-0 win over Bournemouth, and just over two weeks later he made his Champions League debut against ‘Ajax, replacing Thiago in a substitution that must have brought a smile to the faces of both players’ fathers.

His first start came in a League Cup match against Derby at Anfield in November, demonstrating his fearlessness by finishing first on penalties. His effort was spared, but his character was noticed by Klopp and his staff. He also started Liverpool’s first game after the World Cup but was substituted at half-time after failing to deal with a Manchester City midfield trio of Rodri, Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne .

No shame, but no worries either, as four days later he came off the bench and sealed a tight game against Aston Villa with his first professional goal.

The struggles of others, notably Fabinho and club captain Jordan Henderson, have since meant more opportunities and Bajcetic has done what Carragher and Gerrard and more recently Trent Alexander-Arnold have done and seized them.

Henderson and Fabinho are fit and available but Liverpool have an unmissable Premier League clash at Newcastle on Saturday and a Champions League round of 16 first leg against Real Madrid on Tuesday and it would be a surprise if Bajcetic didn’t. both games.

Now he has to play. “We are very happy with him,” Klopp said after the game against Everton. His assistant Pep Lijnders said it was ‘a pleasure to watch Bajcetic’ and praised the youngster’s tenacity, hunger and ability to read the game and stop counter-attacks.

“Sometimes the Academy gives you gifts,” smiled Lijnders in November. “He’s one of them.”

Bajcetic’s progress was rewarded with a new four-year contract last month and while Liverpool plan to give their midfielder a major overhaul this summer with No1 transfer target Jude Bellingham from Borussia Dortmund, he There is hope the teenager will save them millions for himself as a big part of Klopp’s next big Anfield team.

Stefan Bajcetic

Such hopes and expectations must of course always be accompanied by a sense of reality and it should be noted at this point that Bajcetic has only about a dozen Bajcetic games in his senior career and will need both patience and a lot of luck. become a Reds regular. After all, there are countless stories of young players who burned brightly, only to fizzle out and find their true level elsewhere.

So far so good. The boy from Vigo has become the top boy at Anfield in no time.
When you’re 18 and Klopp, Gerrard and Salah are part of your fan club, you know you’re doing something right.