Stefan Bajcetic has turned plenty of heads recently, but Jurgen Klopp does not feel the 18-year-old needs to be taken out of the limelight.
Having started all of Liverpool’s matches since the FA Cup win over Wolves in January, Bajcetic delivered his best performance yet in Monday’s 2-0 win over Everton.
The Spaniard has been the standout player in Klopp’s team recently and was awarded Liverpool’s Player of the Month award for January earlier this week.
It’s been a whirlwind of a season for Bajcetic, who spent much of last season playing for the Reds’ under-18s team, before being fast-tracked to the first team in pre-season.
At such a young age, it would be understandable if Klopp felt the need to hand Bajcetic a rest in the coming weeks, but that’s not something on his agenda for the time being, with the Liverpool boss delighted with his midfield trio against Everton.
“It’s not that difficult, to be honest,” he told reporters when asked about the need to manage Bajcetic’s workload.
“We have parameters, we know, we can read numbers and stuff like this. But it’s then all very individual, so even when a lot of players are young they are still different.
“So we have a close eye on that, we judge that all the time, if he’s ready again, and so far there were no signs that we had to rest him.
“That was good for us, or him, because there were long breaks between the games. That’s absolutely no problem. How it is with three games a week, I don’t know, so we will have to see that. But we have other players as well.
“Stefan played exceptional, not because he’s only 18, he just played exceptional. That’s the best thing to say.
“But it was, for sure, Fabinho‘s best game for a long, long time and Hendo played exceptional. That’s just to talk about the midfield. So that helps obviously. Naby before did not bad, we didn’t win games and stuff like this, but that was not up to Naby. We have other players who are ready to go.
“We had a lot of players not in the squad, senior players not involved in the squad, for the first time in a long time. So there are now options there and long may it continue.”
As you’d expect, the Spain youth international is attracting a lot of attention in his homeland, with Spanish reporters in attendance to quiz Klopp on the youngster in Friday’s press conference.
Bajcetic’s father played for Serbia at international level, but the Liverpool midfielder is expected to enjoy a long career with Spain, the country of his birth.
“Top talent, super player, played really, really, really good for us so far,” Klopp continued.
“Since he’s with us he’s a pure joy to work with. I think the mix of Serbia and Spain is a good one for football.
“I’m not sure you’ve met him, but if you meet him he’s a top, intelligent boy, a joy to work together with.
“The interesting part is that his dad and Thiago‘s dad played together for Celta Vigo. So Thiago – not only Thiago, but Thiago as well – took him a little bit under his wing, so he has a great bunch of players around him who he can learn from. Absolute joy to work with.”