The 18-year-old, who also has the option to play for Serbia as well as Spain, is making a name for himself this season and scored two minutes after coming off the bench to secure Liverpool victory, and is tipped to be one of Liverpool's future stand out stars. In scoring at Villa Park, Bajcetic becomes the club's third youngest goalscorer after Michael Owen and Raheem Sterling. Have Liverpool got themselves a future gem in the heart of midfield?
FROM GALICIA TO MERSEYSIDE
Bajcetic was born in 2004 in the Spanish town of Vigo, Galicia. His father, Srdan Bajcetic, represented Serbia at international level and had spells with Celta Vigo and SC Braga in Portugal. It makes sense knowing his son would star in the Celta Vigo academy, with his ability to be able as a centre-back, but also as a defensive midfielder, which is his natural position today. Bajcetic was often playing in the Under 23's with the Spanish side, having also played for the Under 18 side when he was just 16. It was here where he was spotted by Liverpool, and in November 2021, he signed his first professional contract with the Reds when he was 17.
BREAKING RECORDS IN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE + SPAIN U18'S
Stefan's rise in the Liverpool youth teams convinced the club to further renew his contract. He also made his Under 18 debut for Spain in 2021, but it is up to the youngster to decide whether he chooses to represent the country of his birth or represent Serbia like his father. Nevertheless, Bajcetic went on to make his debut for the Reds in the final 20 minutes of the emphatic 9-0 victory against AFC Bournemouth. But, it was the 13th of September where he broke a record - in coming off the bench for the Reds in their 2-1 victory in the group stage against Ajax, he became the youngest ever Liverpool player to have appeared for them in the UEFA Champions League.
That's some achievement - but far more was to come for Bajcetic - and for Liverpool.
Jurgen Klopp celebrating a Stefan Bajcetic tackle like a goal there. You love to see it.
— Anfield Watch (@AnfieldWatch) December 30, 2022
INTRODUCING HIMSELF TO THE PREMIER LEAGUE
Further appearances came for Bajcetic - he played for 3 minutes in Liverpool's 2-0 victory against Napoli in another group game, but missed a penalty for the Reds in the EFL Cup victory shootout against League One side Derby County, after playing the whole game. But it was Boxing Day of 2022 which introduced the Premier League to the next Spanish prospect. Bajcetic was introduced in the 79th minute to replace Jordan Henderson - just two minutes later, he was wheeling away in celebration as he had just restored Liverpool's two-goal lead at Villa Park, and in the process of doing so, became the second youngest Spaniard to score in the Premier League (18 years and 65 days), with Cesc Fabregas still holding the record, when he scored for Arsenal in 2004 against Blackburn ( 17 years 113 days).
📊 At Aston Villa, Stefan Bajcetic became the club's third-youngest scorer in the Premier League, aged 18 years and 65 days. His goal was the 10th by a Liverpool substitute this season. #lfc [lfc] pic.twitter.com/NIyJ4ZSHva
— Anfield Watch (@AnfieldWatch) December 29, 2022
Having only played 23 minutes of competitive Premier League action, Bajcetic stepped up when the Reds needed him the most. But there is more to come from the 18-year-old, and Liverpool will hope to see more of the Spaniard in the near future.
ANFIELD WATCH VERDICT
With Liverpool looking for new central midfielders in the transfer market, Stefan Bajcetic I feel will become a more prominent figure for Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp in the second half of the season. Even if that elusive midfielder does not join in January having already acquired Cody Gakpo, Liverpool can call upon the likes of Bajcetic and Ben Doak, who also excelled after coming off the bench against Villa.
Howvever - Stefan Bajcetic is definitely a hot prospect and whilst he can continue to learn from fellow compatriot Thiago - watch this space.