Stefan Bajcetic: The ‘cheeky’ teenager and his ‘Christmas story’26 December 2022
"Cheeky as hell" and a first senior goal on 26 December - Jurgen Klopp described Spanish teenager Stefan Bajcetic's impact for Liverpool as "like a Christmas story".
The 18-year-old restored Liverpool's two-goal advantage two minutes after coming on as a substitute in a 3-1 win at Aston Villa in their first league match since the World Cup break.
It was only his seventh senior appearance for the club and he has played a total of just 189 minutes across those games. So, just who is Bajcetic?
'Cheeky as hell and not worried about anything'
Spanish teenager Bajcetic joined Liverpool from his hometown club Celta Vigo in November 2021, signing his first professional contract with the Premier League side at the age of 17.
Football runs in his family, with his father, Srdan Bajcetic, representing Serbia at international level.
At Celta his ability was clear and, able to play in both defence and midfield, the versatile Bajcetic occasionally stepped up to the Under-23s after making his Under-18s debut while still an Under-16 player.
Now, a year on from his move to Merseyside, he has a first Premier League goal - which arrived after a total of 23 minutes of Premier League action - having already become the youngest player to ever appear for the Reds in the Champions League when he featured in September's group-stage win over Ajax.
Speaking to Amazon Prime following his side's victory, Klopp said of Bajcetic: "He's cheeky as hell and he is not worried about anything.
"He just plays football and he can do that exceptionally well.
"He had a football-playing father, so the genes are there but also the attitude, awareness and match intelligence. It's a big pleasure to work with these boys."
'Exceptional' Bajcetic has 'important role' to play
At the age of 18 years and 65 days, Bajcetic became Liverpool's third-youngest Premier League scorer behind only Michael Owen (17 years 143 days) and Raheem Sterling (17 years 317 days).
He is also the second youngest Spaniard to score in the competition - behind only Cesc Fabregas, who scored for Arsenal against Blackburn aged 17 years and 113 days in August 2004.
He was not the only young talent given precious Premier League experience against Aston Villa, though.
Ben Doak came off the bench to make his Premier League debut aged 17 years and 45 days and in the process he became the youngest Scottish player in the competition's history - overtaking the record set in 1995 by Nigel Quashie for Queens Park Rangers (17 years 163 days).
On blooding young players, Klopp told BBC Sport: "We know that we have to create a situation where these boys can help us - and they can help us - but for that we need to be stable. If we are stable, then they can play their role."
The Liverpool boss added: "Stefan's an exceptional talent. He's cheeky as hell and how he plays football is great. His attitude is outstanding.
"Ben as well, what a dribbler he is. It's nice to bring them on. They have an important role for us and tonight they could play, which was really nice."
This news item was provided by the BBC Sport - Football website - the original link is: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/64098845?at_medium=RSS&at_campaign=KARANGA