Liverpool have had a solid start to their Premier League season with 28 points on the board from their opening 13 games, firmly placing them in the title race alongside Chelsea and Manchester City.
One figure in Jurgen Klopp’s side that has played a big part in their season so far is Fabinho, who has a total of 14 appearances under his belt, with nine coming in the Premier League and five in the Champions League.
Playing all of those appearances in the defensive-midfield role, it’s no surprise that he has managed to rack up an average of 1.4 interceptions per game, 1.3 tackles per game and 1.1 clearances per game, proving himself once again as a vital figure for the Reds after his heroics last season of playing as a makeshift centre-back at times.
Even though Fabinho is still only 28 years of age and has until 2026 before his current deal expires at the Merseyside club, Liverpool could already have a player in the youth ranks that could potentially go on to have a similar impact at Anfield as their imposing Brazilian.
After scouting him from late 2019, Liverpool signed young defender Stefan Bajcetic from Spanish club Celta Vigo back in December last year for a reported fee of €250,000 (£224,000) according to The Athletic.
Since then, the 17-year-old has made 12 appearances for Liverpool’s U18 side, scoring one goal and providing one assist, as well as three appearances for their U23 side.
Bajcetic has also made three appearances in the UEFA Youth League this season.
During his time with the Reds, Bajcetic has predominantly played as a centre-back but has tried his hand in the defensive-midfield role and at right-back, three positions that Fabinho has played in at some stage of his career.
Speaking after Liverpool U19s recent 4-0 win over Porto in the UEFA Youth League, Marc Bridge-Wilkinson said: “[Bajcetic] is doing really well. He is playing a little bit different in midfield at the minute but he is good enough to play there. He is good enough to play the game in and out of possession in that position as well as at centre-back.”
Do you think Stefan Bajcetic will have a big future at Anfield?
With Klopp previously praising Fabinho’s centre-back performance away at Chelsea last season saying that he helped the team a lot “with the ball and in defending as well,” this shows how similar the pair are in terms of their capabilities of playing in different defensive positions.
Also, with Bajcetic recently signing his first professional contract with Liverpool, this shows that they see enough in him that he could potentially grow and develop his game even further at the club, which could allow Klopp to unearth yet another young talent in his senior squad in the future and potentially save the club millions in doing so.