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Jurgen Klopp admits he didn’t realise how badly injured one Liverpool player really is

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has admitted that he’s now dealing with a much bigger injury problem than initially expected.

The Reds have been struggling with fitness issues over the past few months in particular. But with players coming back – including Thiago Alcantara returning to training on Monday – those problems are easing considerably.

There are still a handful of players unavailable, though. Unfortunately, one of them has been that way for a long time now. After a breakthrough campaign last year, plenty had been expected of Stefan Bajcetic this season. So far though, the Spaniard has made just two appearances, both in September.

And in quotes from The Guardian, Klopp has insisted that Bajcetic’s potential had affected their plans in the transfer market last summer. After admitting to failed interest in Jude Bellingham, Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia, the Reds manager said Bajcetic had been in their mind while thinking about what to do next.

“Then we found our top solution. We found Wataru [Endo]. All the time in our mind we had Stefan [Bajcetic],” says Jurgen. “It was not clear at that moment he was so badly injured he could not feature at all.

“We already knew Macca could play the position. Dom [Szoboszlai] was always on my radar. If one of the £100m [signings] had worked there’s no chance to do another. That’s what I meant when I said we are so lucky. Everything in the ‘if not’ scenario worked out.”

Klopp admits Bajcetic worries

It’s clear by now that Liverpool had really intended for Bajcetic to make the No.6 position his own this season. With a few months to play in the campaign, maybe that will still happen.

Having been out injured since March, it felt likely that the 19-year-old would be ready for the start of the campaign. From there, he could carry on the impressive form he showed in 2022/23.

Frustratingly – and a little worryingly – though, that just hasn’t happened.

The intention should still be that Bajcetic is earmarked for Liverpool’s long-term defensive midfield position. He’s shown enough during his time in the first-team to deserve that.

But right now, it seems impossible to predict just when he’ll be available again. Hopefully the time spent away from the team hasn’t diminished the youngster’s potential.

If that is the case, then Liverpool should still be very positive about Bajcetic’s future. Given how long he’s spent on the side lines, it’s easy to forget just how good the Spain U21 international was last year.

Bajcetic’s impact was even greater than Jarell Quansah’s this season, though. He wasn’t just starting games for the first-team, he was legitimately their best player for a period in the New Year.

You can understand why Klopp was keen to build around him and alter plans in the transfer market to make that happen. The intentions were good, it just hasn’t worked out that way.

Get well soon, Stefan, we’re still counting on you.

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