Liverpool headed into the summer planning for a major midfield rebuild, but nobody expected it to turn out to be quite as massive an undertaking as it ended up following the surprise departures of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho.
In addition to the early arrivals of Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai, late on in the window Wataru Endo and Ryan Gravenberch joined the club. For the remaining players, including breakout youngster Stefan Bajcetic, that means plenty of competition.
The 18-year-old, though, says he’s looking forward to the challenge of fighting for minutes in Liverpool’s new-look midfield now that he’s back fit and training, and whether those minutes are at the six or the eight isn’t especially important.
“At a club like Liverpool you need to always fight for your position,” the youngster noted. “It’s never guaranteed, but I know that if I do my job and I push as hard as I can I will have more chances to play and maybe not just at six.
“I played left midfield a little bit last season and I just adapt to what the coach says. I’m happy to play anywhere. If the coach put me at striker I’d do it. At my age you need to get more experience and I get that here, especially training with these players.”
Bajcetic was 2022-23’s breakout performer for the Reds, making 19 total appearances including 11 in the league and helping to stabilize a side hit by injuries that at times seemed not to have recovered fully from the previous season.
That first team workload was, perhaps, a little too much for the youngster, and an adductor injury in March and the slow work of recovering has kept him out since, but with the player now back training he should soon be back in the mix.
“We lost some players, we got some new players and they can help us,” Bajcetic said of the changes to the squad since he was last involved. “Alexis we knew the most because he had already played in the Premier League with Brighton.
“It is really easy to adapt to playing with players like him and Dom, who is really good. They have given us a boost, for sure, and this is the highest level of football so you can always learn from the others, especially in my position in the midfield.”