Stefan Bajcetic arrived at Liverpool as a centre-back, but has now been converted to midfield, where his father had once predicted he would end up.
Liverpool youngster Bajcetic comes from strong footballing stock.
His father, Srdan Bajcetic, was a midfielder who spent much of his career in Spain, Portugal and Serbia, and is now a youth coach at Celta Vigo.
It was from the Spanish club that Liverpool signed the teenage Bajcetic in 2020, just before the new post-Brexit rules came in to restrict under-18 arrivals from overseas.
Their determination to fast-track a deal has now been vindicated, with the 18-year-old rising swiftly through the academy ranks and now a full-time member of the first team, making five appearances to date.
All of those have come in midfield, but Bajcetic joined the Reds as a centre-back, with academy director Alex Inglethorpe explaining the plan behind his change of position.
“As elegant as he was as a centre-back, we wondered whether he’d have more opportunity if he moved up a line,” he told the Liverpool Echo.
“Interestingly, I spoke to Stefan around that time and he said his dad, who is a former player, had always said he’d end up a midfielder.
“I don’t think we were pushing against a closed door with our decision to move Stefan.
“Stefan is a really great lad to work with. It was no problem for him. He is doing really well.”
The shift from centre-back to defensive midfield has clearly benefited Bajcetic, who took no time at all to adjust to the rigours of the No. 6 role.
That has shone through in his outings against Ajax and Napoli in the Champions League and, most recently, Derby in the Carabao Cup, with the youngster always willing to take the ball and look forwards.
Inglethorpe’s early judgement was a valuable one, too, with the pathway almost certain to have been blocked had Bajcetic stayed his course as a centre-back.
More opportunities are likely to come in the New Year, with Bajcetic expected to travel with the squad for their mid-season training camp in Dubai before involvement in the Carabao Cup clash with Man City.