Jurgen Klopp says he played Stefan Bajcetic in a completely new position during the win over Everton last night.
Bajcetic surprisingly lined up with Fabinho and Jordan Henderson in a new-look Liverpool midfield on Monday night. It was a little puzzling to see two ‘6’s’ in the same XI. As it turned out though, Bajcetic operated slightly further forward, with Fabinho holding.
And as per Klopp’s interview with Sky Sports after the game, this was a totally new position for the 18-year-old former centre-back.
“Stefan showed up tonight. We are really happy with him, he’s a top boy, really smart and obviously calm,” began the Liverpool boss. “We put him in a new position, I don’t think he ever played it before. He was a centre-half, then we put him on 6, now he played on 8. I asked him afterwards if he liked it and he said ‘oh yes.’ That’s a nice story.”
Bajcetic versatility on full show
Judging from Bajcetic’s display last night, he absolutely has a future in any number of midfield positions.
Since he burst onto the scene during the summer, the Spaniard has exclusively featured as the deepest lying midfielder.
Having excelled there, it felt like something of risk to shift him for such a big game, as last night’s was. But against a physical Everton midfield, perhaps it made sense from Klopp.
Bajcetic is a remarkably well-rounded midfielder for his age. Perhaps his strongest attribute is his comfort with the ball at his feet, though.
No matter what’s going on around him, the teenager has an uncanny ability to find himself a pass. In many ways, he bears a big resemblance to mentor Thiago Alcantara with his choice off pass, too.
As well as that though, he’s an excellent tackler. Fearless and aggressive, he seems to have peak Fabinho’s innate sense of the perfect time to stick out a leg.
Match these things together, and you can see why Klopp decided to throw Bajcetic in at the ‘8’ position in the derby.
Everton’s surprisingly lacklustre performance no doubt helped, but Stefan could hardly have vindicated his manager more strongly. So, it may have been his first taste of playing such a position, but it certainly won’t be his last. What a lovely little player.