Liverpool head Molineux tonight for their FA Cup third-round replay against Wolverhampton Wanderers, and Jurgen Klopp will be hoping that he can give the Reds’ supporters something to look forward to by progressing in the competition after a troubling campaign so far.
The current FA Cup holders are ninth in the Premier League and already knocked out of the Carabao Cup, so a victory away from home would be a welcome boost of confidence for the squad ahead of their league clash against Chelsea next Saturday.
When Liverpool hosted Wolves at Anfield in the original tie ten days ago, it was mired in controversy due to an offside VAR decision on Matheus Nunes which led to a goal being disallowed for the visitors, ultimately resulting in a 2-2 draw.
Klopp took to his pre-match press conference on Monday to confirm that changes would be made to the team which lost to Brighton and Hove Albion last weekend, stating: “We go as strong as we can. Not all players who played the last game are available now, for different reasons. We will make changes, that’s clear. We need fresh legs. We have to make decisions about the lineup and we will.”
As a result, the Liverpool manager should unleash Stefan Bajcetic, as the teenager could terrify Wolves if he is deployed and can give Klopp the fresh legs that he claimed the team needs tonight.
The 18-year-old – who was dubbed “cheeky as hell” by his manager – has become a regular feature in the senior squad this season after being promoted from the U21 youth setup on Merseyside, with eight appearances for the first-team so far.
Over his three Premier League appearances, the confident teenager scored one goal against Aston Villa during his 11-minute performance in midfield, also completing 100% of his dribbles and winning 63% of his duels despite averaging just 13 minutes per top-flight outing.
Bajcetic has earned most of his experience in a defensive midfield role whilst rising through the ranks of the Liverpool academy, but he has also shown his capabilities at centre-back and, of course, to scoring effect in his one appearance in a central midfield role too.
Wolves haven’t lost inside 90 minutes in their last four matches in all competitions, a revival which has clearly been influenced by the appointment of Julen Lopetegui, so it won’t be an easy challenge for the Reds at Molineux tonight.
With that being said, bringing in Bajcetic could be the positive boost that the team needs, especially after the humiliating defeat to Brighton, and rotation will give Klopp the opportunity to rest a few of the first-team regulars who will be needed at Anfield against Chelsea on Saturday.