Liverpool youngster Stefan Bajcetic was partly at fault for Real Madrid’s equalising goal on Tuesday night,
That’s according to former Chelsea player Frank Leboeuf. Speaking to ESPN in the wake of Liverpool’s 5-2 defeat, Leboeuf criticised Bajcetic for losing the ball in midfield in the build up to the goal.
“We are criticising Alisson and we don’t go to Bajcetic, when he tried to take on the players and lost the ball when Liverpool were still leading 2-1,” said the Frenchman.
“He’s young, you can make mistakes and we don’t want to be harsh on him, but that’s crazy. Henderson got crazy when they conceded the goal. You just have to put the ball backwards and it would have been safe. Sometimes you make silly mistakes, silly decisions and that’s what we see right now [with Liverpool].”
Bajcetic blots his copybook
Finally, somebody said it. Yes, Leboeuf is right, we don’t want to go too harsh in our criticism of Bajcetic. The teenager is still incredibly young and has stepped up enormously for Liverpool of late. Even on Tuesday against such experienced opposition, he can come out with his head held high.
But at the same time, this little error has to be highlighted. Young Stefan’s decision to try and take on two Madrid players high up the pitch was extremely costly.
It wasn’t the first time the young Spaniard had tried it either. Usually so clever in possession, Bajcetic lost the ball in dangerous areas a couple of times.
This time, he was punished for it. Federico Valverde read his little knock and immediately released a ball in behind Joe Gomez for Vinicius Junior.
Of course, Alisson should deal with pass-back far better. The Liverpool goalkeeper takes the brunt of the blame for this one and rightly so. But if Bajcetic plays a simple pass there – and several were on – the goal doesn’t happen.
We didn’t spot Henderson going ‘crazy,’ as Leboeuf did, though you can understand if he was.
The goal ended up being a massive turning point in the game. Had Liverpool been able to see out the half 2-1 up, a reset in the second-half could have seen them solidify their position. I guess we’ll never know.
It’s all learning for Stefan and it doesn’t take away from how good he’s been since coming into the team. At this kind of level though, those mistakes will be punished.
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