Liverpool’s 2-1 defeat against Brighton yesterday in the FA Cup took the Red’s disappointing season to a new low. Jurgen Klopp’s men were knocked out by a last minute stunner scored by Kaoru Mitoma. However, Liverpool fans would have been pleased with the performance of academy graduate Stefan Bajčetić. We spoke to Liverpool legend and BonusCodeBets ambassador John Barnes who gave us an in depth look at the Liverpool youngster and what to expect from Bajčetić and future academy talents going forward.
Liverpool’s midfield woes continue
Liverpool’s midfield issues continue to be a topic of discussion. The Reds have been linked with a host which includes the likes of Jude Bellingham, Enzo Fernandez, Yunus Musah and Moises Caicedo. All of whom would cost Liverpool a significant amount if or when they decide to add to the troops in the centre of the park.
It’s certainly been a difficult season for Liverpool so far. The club find themselves languishing in midtable of the Premier League and out of both domestic cup competitions. Furthermore, their recent transfer recruits haven’t been the success they would have hoped for them to be so far in Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo. It is early days for the pair. Especially Gakpo. To judge them based on this season alone would be harsh at best. Lunacy at worst. Mo Salah hasn’t been able to recreate his form of previous seasons. Trent Alexander-Arnold has probably had his toughest season so far from a defensive perspective. Meanwhile, Fabnho who was once renowned as one of the linchpins of the esteemed Liverpool midfield looks off the pace and sluggish.
Step forward Stefan Bajčetić
It may seem like it’s complete doom and gloom for Liverpool right now and understandably so. But the emergence of Spanish academy graduate Stefan Bajčetić has certainly been a small win in a season of losses for Liverpool. Bajčetić is a youth product of the academy of Celta Vigo, and signed for Liverpool in December 2020. He made his professional debut in Liverpool’s 9-0 win over Bournemouth earlier this season. He shortly followed this up with his first senior goal for Liverpool in their 3–1 victory away to Aston Villa. Earlier this month Bajčetić made his full debut against Chelsea in the 0-0 draw. Bajčetić has clearly earned the trust of Klopp but the German isn’t the only person who is a fan of the Spaniard.
John Barnes has also been keeping a close eye on not only Bajčetić but also the Liverpool academy overall and Barnes likes what he sees. Barnes reflected: “I’ve seen him play a few times. I’ve seen him play for the academy when I went up to the academy and I’ve seen him come off the bench as a sub for Liverpool.”
“The good thing about integrating young players into the first team, especially at Liverpool, is that they understand exactly what is expected of them in the first team.”
“A lot of his natural skills are something we didn’t show enough in recent games.”
“The aggression – a good aggression, not that he kicks players – he really makes the last step into challenges.”
“He’s a good footballer on top of that, which is obviously very important in the centre of the park.”
Who is Stefan Bajčetić?
For Klopp to trust him in games of such importance such as the recent draw with Chelsea and their 2-1 loss to Brighton at the American Express Community Stadium shows not only the continued development of Bajčetić but also the struggles that Liverpool are currently experiencing in midfield. Barnes has been impressed with Bajčetić and isn’t surprised by the way he has quickly adapted to first team football.
“He’s a holding midfield player like Fabinho who plays in front of the back four. Liverpool and Klopp make it plain and simple what his job is.”
“He’s got great technique, good ability and they trust him. He played above his years against Chelsea and Brighton but he understands his role so I wasn’t surprised by how well he did.”
Liverpool fans will surely be hoping that even if the Red do decide to spend in the summer on reinforcing their midfield options, Klopp will be able to find space for the youngster to continue his development.