Jurgen Klopp was left “really happy” with Stefan Bajcetic‘s new contract, with the youngster offering “something we didn’t show often enough” this season.
Bajcetic put pen to paper on a new four-and-a-half-year deal this week, pledging his future to Liverpool until at least 2027.
It comes in a season where he is enjoying an increasingly focal role under Klopp, including a first-ever Premier League start in the 0-0 draw with Chelsea – his 10th appearance this season.
There is a convincing case for him to keep his place for a third consecutive game when the Reds visit Brighton in the FA Cup, and ahead of that tie, the manager was full of praise.
“Absolutely, we knew that. It was pretty clear from the first moment,” he said when asked if he saw a promising future for his No. 43.
“But you never know how quick it goes. I think we were pretty careful with him, because of his age and all these kinds of things.
“But he showed now that he’s ready and for us very helpful in the situation.
“A lot of his natural skills are something we didn’t show often enough in the recent games.
“The aggression – a good aggression, not that he kicks players – he really makes the last step into challenges.
“He’s a good footballer on top of that, which is obviously very important in the centre of the park.
“I’m really happy, really pleased that he signed his new contract.
“He deserves it as well and I think he’s really happy about it. So it’s good.”
There are clearly no concerns among Klopp and his staff that it is too soon for a player who only turned 18 in October, as he currently keeps Fabinho out of the side.
The Spaniard has, in many ways, been the perfect tonic in a season that has seen such little fight from the more senior midfielders in the Liverpool squad.