KLOPP’S LAST GAME SOUVENIR

LINZ, AUSTRIA - Thursday, September 21, 2023: Liverpool's Stefan Bajcetic during the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 1 game between LASK and Liverpool FC at the Raiffeisen Arena. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Stefan Bajcetic makes first start in 7 months – but strong Liverpool U21s lose

Stefan Bajcetic made his first start at any level in seven months as a strong Liverpool U21s side visited Sunderland, but it ended in a 2-1 defeat.

Sunderland U21s 2-1 Liverpool U21s

Premier League 2, Eppleton Colliery Football Ground
April 22, 2024

Goals: Jones 18′, Tuterov 54′; Koumas 9′


It has been a torturous season for Bajcetic, with much of it spent on the sidelines despite being pain-free, but he is now nearing a return to full fitness.

Rather than building up his minutes with the first team, who need to be at the highest standard in every game, the Spaniard is taking in the last steps of his recovery with the U21s.

After coming off the bench in the 3-0 win over Man United at Old Trafford, Bajcetic made his first start since September in Monday’s trip to Sunderland.

Bajcetic came off at half-time, with his substitution pre-planned.

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 2, 2024: Liverpool's substitutes Lewis Koumas and Jayden Danns before the FA Premier League match between Nottingham Forest FC and Liverpool FC at the City Ground. Liverpool won 1-0. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Remarkably, every player in Barry Lewtas‘ starting lineup has been involved with Jurgen Klopp‘s first team in one way or another – with nine included in a matchday squad this season and seven making it onto the pitch.

One of those to make the biggest impact is Lewis Koumas, and the Wales youth international opened the scoring with a goal Klopp would have been proud of.

Winning the ball high up the pitch with tenacious pressing, Koumas shifted it onto his stronger foot and fired into the bottom corner for a first-half lead.

Unfortunately, Sunderland levelled within nine minutes, with Harrison Jones firing in after Fabian Mrozek – who impressed between the sticks – punched a corner clear.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 7, 2024: Liverpool's Trey Nyoni during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Cup 3rd Round match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at the Emirates Stadium. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The likes of James McConnell, Trey Nyoni and Kaide Gordon all had eye-catching chances, but it was Sunderland who got the third goal of the game through Ukrainian striker Timur Tuterov.

Lewtas made a number of changes in the second half which arguably weakened the side, with McConnell, Jayden Danns and centre-back Carter Pinnington all brought off.

It left Liverpool with defeat in their penultimate game of the league campaign, with Arsenal visitors to Kirkby for the final clash on Sunday.

The young Reds have already qualified for the elimination playoffs, however, which will be a one-off tie against an opponent determined by their league placing.

LINZ, AUSTRIA - Thursday, September 21, 2023: Liverpool's Stefan Bajcetic during the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 1 game between LASK and Liverpool FC at the Raiffeisen Arena. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

That means Liverpool’s ridiculously strong U21s group are in line for at least one more crucial clash between now and the end of the season – which could be particularly useful for Bajcetic.


Liverpool U21s: Mrozek; Nallo, Williams, Pinnington (Davidson 63′); McConnell (Pilling 70′), Bajcetic (Miles 46′), Nyoni, Clark; Gordon, Koumas, Danns (Blair 74′)

Subs not used: Poytress

Next match: Arsenal (H) – Premier League 2 – Sunday, April 28, 1pm (BST)