Stefan Bajcetic’s emergence has been one of the most promising developments for Liverpool in recent years. The 18-year-old center-back signed for the Reds from Spanish side Celta Vigo in January 2021 and has made a significant impression on Jurgen Klopp and his team in a short amount of time. However, despite his impact, it is unlikely that Bajcetic’s arrival has altered Klopp’s plans to rebuild Liverpool’s midfield in the coming seasons.
Bajcetic was identified as a promising talent by Liverpool’s recruitment team following his impressive performances for Celta Vigo’s B side in Spain’s third tier. He was subsequently snapped up by the Premier League champions and has been fast-tracked into the club’s development system.
Despite his tender age and lack of first-team experience, Bajcetic has already demonstrated his capabilities as a defender. He is a tall, physical presence who combines strong aerial ability with a composed and intelligent reading of the game. In some ways, his attributes are reminiscent of Liverpool’s towering Dutch center-back Virgil van Dijk, who has been sorely missed through injury this season.
Bajcetic has already been given opportunities to impress for Liverpool’s under-23 side and has looked assured alongside some of the club’s other promising defenders, such as Rhys Williams and Billy Koumetio. He has also been included in Klopp’s first-team squads on several occasions, although he is yet to make his competitive debut.
While Bajcetic’s emergence is undoubtedly exciting for Liverpool fans, it is unlikely to have a significant impact on Klopp’s current midfield rebuilding plans. The manager has already made moves to add to his midfield options, bringing in Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich and Diogo Jota from Wolves last summer.
Thiago, in particular, was seen as the missing piece of Klopp’s puzzle in midfield. The Spanish international, a former Barcelona player, is a technically gifted playmaker who excels in possession and has the vision and creativity to unlock the tightest defenses. Liverpool’s midfield had been criticized at times last season for its lack of creativity and depth, and Thiago’s arrival was seen as a response to those concerns.
Jota, meanwhile, is a versatile attacker who can play across the front line and has already demonstrated his goalscoring prowess for the Reds this season. His signing was seen as a shrewd move by Klopp, who recognized the need to add more depth and quality to his attacking options.
In addition to Thiago and Jota, Klopp also has a number of other talented midfield players at his disposal, including Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum, Naby Keita, and Curtis Jones. Each of these players brings their own unique qualities to Liverpool’s midfield, and there is a healthy level of competition for places in the team.
Of course, injuries and departures could change the picture quickly, and Bajcetic’s emergence may yet play a crucial role in Liverpool’s future. But for now, Klopp is likely to focus on improving his midfield options rather than bolstering his defense, which already boasts some of the best players in the world.
It should also be noted that Liverpool’s defense has been relatively solid this season, despite the absence of van Dijk, Joe Gomez, and Joel Matip for extended periods due to injury. Klopp has been forced to rely on the likes of Williams, Koumetio, Nat Phillips, and even midfield player Fabinho to fill in at center-back, but the team has coped well and has remained in the hunt for Champions League qualification.
In conclusion, Bajcetic’s emergence as a promising young defender is a welcome development for Liverpool, but it is unlikely to alter Klopp’s midfield rebuilding plans in the short term. The German manager has already invested heavily in midfield talent and is likely to continue to focus on improving that area of the team in the coming seasons. However, Bajcetic’s progress will be closely monitored by the club’s coaching staff, and he may yet have a role to play in Liverpool’s future success.