Liverpool have progressed to the next round of the FA Cup after a comfortable 1-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux this evening and manager Jurgen Klopp will surely be delighted that his rotation of the team paid off.
The reigning champions of the competition will have been given a confidence boost over their performance after a humiliating defeat last weekend to Brighton and Hove Albion and deservedly won the tie in which they will ironically face Brighton in the fourth round.
Despite having only 42% possession, fewer shots on goal (7 v 11), fewer passes completed (447 v 607) and fewer big chances created (0 v1), the Merseysiders turned their pressing machine back on and it worked a charm on the hosts.
In the first half, Liverpool looked sharp from the very start which quickly earned them the first and only goal of the game when Harvey Elliott carried the ball through the Wolves defence to hit the back of the net in the 13th minute with an incredible strike from outside of the box.
In the second half, it was relatively uneventful for the Reds but they managed the game well and stepped up their defensive resilience to deny the home team any hope of equalising or creating anything worthwhile in the clash right down to the last second, something Klopp will be massively pleased with due to the poor defensive displays Liverpool have shown of late.
Despite Elliott’s superb strike, there was one player who grabbed the golden opportunity to impress Klopp with both hands – academy graduate Stefan Bajcetic.
The 18-year-old gem made his FA Cup debut featuring alongside Naby Keita and Thiago Alcantara in the centre of the pitch.
Over his 75-minute performance, the Spanish gem – who was once dubbed an “incredible prospect” by journalist Tom Barnes – won five of his eight duels combined, completed 100% of his dribble attempts, won three tackles, two interceptions and completed 24 accurate passes.
The talented youngster’s display will surely leave the Anfield faithful feeling excited about his impact in the team – after only being promoted to the senior squad at the start of the current campaign – quickly proved to Klopp and FSG the huge difference that an injection of youth into the midfield can make.
With that being said, the future is looking incredibly bright for Bajcetic and there would surely be no disputes if Bajcetic gets rewarded with another opportunity on Saturday against Chelsea in their Premier League clash at Anfield.