The four first-team players Stefan Bajcetic has already become really good friends with at Liverpool
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

The four first-team players Stefan Bajcetic has already become really good friends with at Liverpool

Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara has been mentoring countryman Stefan Bajcetic through his step into the Reds first team.

Bajcetic has been a revelation since the turn of the year, becoming a starter in Jurgen Klopp’s midfield. And according to The Daily Mail, Thiago has been the player to take the young man under his wing.

It’s also claimed that the 18-year-old has ‘slotted in’ to Liverpool’s ‘close-knit’ Spanish speaking group. As well as Thiago, Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez and James Milner are named as being key to settling Bajcetic in.

For a young Spanish midfielder, or any midfielder really, is it possible to have a better mentor? Soak it all in, Stefan.

Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Bajcetic learning from the best

Thiago is turning thirty-two in April and now has just 18 months left on his contract. Regardless of whether he extends his stay Anfield beyond that, Liverpool need to start planning for his successor.

That’s no easy task considering what Thiago brings to the table. But watching Bajcetic, you can see plenty of elements of the Reds No.6 in his game.

In world football, few can disguise a vertical pass like Thiago. His ability to swivel his hips and a play a perfect, unexpected ball is legendary.

This is something also very visible with Bajcetic. He doesn’t pull them off as often as his older teammate, but he’s not afraid of playing high-risk high-reward balls through the lines.

Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

It’s obviously something he has in his locker regardless of any time spent on the training pitch with Thiago. But time spent on the training pitch with Thiago will only help to grow this aspect of his game. Then there’s the tackling. Arguably, Bajcetic has a higher ceiling in this attribute than his countryman.

Indeed, tackling wasn’t something you would associate with the former Barcelona academy player before he joined Liverpool. Contrary to what critics would have you believe though, Thiago has turned into an exceptional tackler.

He does still get the odd one wrong, though and can be a little over-zealous at times. From Bajcetic’s time in the first team so far, he appears to have a slightly better natural understanding of when and where to tackle. That’s the former centre-back in him shining through.

So, as Liverpool look for perfect successors for their ageing midfield stars, they look like they’ve found the man to replace Mr Alcantara. It isn’t time to pass the torch just yet, but when it is, Bajcetic looks like he’ll be more than ready.

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