Liverpool’s pre-season is now finally paying dividends to its supporters. After a harrowing defeat to the eternal rivals Manchester United, the Reds have bounced back with two comprehensive victories on the trot against Crystal Palace and RB Leipzig, respectively.
In the encounter against RB Leipzig, the new signing, Darwin Nunez finally announced his arrival with four goals to his name. The Reds registered a 5-0 victory courtesy of Nunez, but a sparkling moment towards the end of the game caught the eye of many, including Fabinho.
This splendid moment was created by the 17-year-old Stefan Bajcetic who replaced Fabinho in the defensive midfield role. Stefan, who was on the pitch for 30 minutes, received the ball in a pivotal area and passed it to Harvey Eliott, who assisted Nunez for his third goal. Fabinho was full of praise for the youngster who had been given preference over the likes of James Milner and Tyler Morton.
Stefan is of Serbian heritage but was born in Spain, and earlier played for Celta Vigo. The Reds learned of his impeccable skills and came calling. They signed the young talent in a deal close to £250,000, beating Manchester United, who was hell-bent to bring him to Old Trafford.
Stefan’s father, Srdjan Bajcetic, also played for Celta Vigo from 1994 to 1997 as a midfielder, but Stefan’s all-around ability to play as a defensive midfielder and as a centre-back has surpassed his father’s qualities as a football player.
The young lad from Spain also has a compatriot in the Liverpool squad – Thiago Alcantara. Despite sharing the same nationality, Stefan has an uncanny connection with Liverpool’s midfield maestro.
It is no secret that Thiago’s father, Mazinho, was a respected footballer who played for Brazil and was even a part of the World Cup-winning squad in 1994. He followed up this success by signing up for Valencia and later moved on to Celta Vigo in 1996.
This puts him in Celta’s squad at the same time when Stefan’s father, Srdjan, was attending to his duties as a midfielder for the Sky Blues. Even though Srdjan left Celta Vigo in 1997, the duo played together for the same team for one full season from 1996 to 1997.
And it seems their sons, Stefan and Thiago, are carrying on the legacy. History indeed repeats itself, but for Liverpool, it’s a fortunate coincidence that will only strengthen the bond between Thiago and Stefan, who will look to push the Reds towards many more titles.
Stefan is young while Thiago has aged into a fine midfield player. There’s a lot to learn for Stefan, but given his recent rendezvous on the pitch, one can only expect him to reach places that settle the debate about Liverpool’s defensive woes soon.