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Why fans shouldn’t get carried away after Stefan Bajcetic spotted in ‘full training kit’

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The sight of Stefan Bajcetic in his Liverpool kit at the AXA Training Centre led to speculation over a return, but fans should not be getting carried away.

Tuesday brought a series of positive updates when it came to Jurgen Klopp‘s squad, as four players returned and two more shook off minor issues.

Mohamed Salah‘s comeback took the headlines, but Alisson and Joe Gomez were also involved after illness, Conor Bradley returned from compassionate leave and Diogo Jota and Ryan Gravenberch were confirmed to be fit.

Another player spotted in footage from the AXA Training Centre was Bajcetic, who arrived alongside his team-mates and was seen in training gear.

With Bajcetic playing darts with fellow youngster Bobby Clark in the canteen, a number of Liverpool fan sites speculated over a return as he wore ‘full training kit’.

But, unsurprisingly, the 19-year-old did not join the first-team squad for training – nor was he part of the initial session in the gym.

Instead, Bajcetic continues to follow an individual programme as Liverpool carefully manage his body amid issues related to his growth.

While this latest layoff was initially claimed to be a “little, little, little setback” in his calf when Klopp updated on the midfielder’s absence in September, it has proved to be a wider area.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 19, 2023: Liverpool's substitute Stefan Bajcetic warms-up during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and AFC Bournemouth at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

His injury is more accurately described as musculoskeletal – or in layman’s terms, growing pains.

“It’s harsh for these boys,” Klopp reflected in November.

“Sometimes when you’re a real talent, like Conor [Bradley] is for example or Stefan Bajcetic is, then you are ready footballing-wise, but the body still needs to grow into the intensity.

“These two boys probably have now had that spell – one has it still, the other one is out of it – now we have to make sure we don’t overdo it.

“We really try, we are really careful with the boys, but sometimes it happens anyway.”

LINZ, AUSTRIA - Thursday, September 21, 2023: Liverpool's Stefan Bajcetic during the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 1 game between LASK and Liverpool FC at the Raiffeisen Arena. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Bajcetic has featured this season – twice in September, after overcoming a long-term adductor injury – but it remains to be seen whether he will again under Klopp.

Assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders had predicted that both Bajcetic and Thiago would rejoin training in February, but a new setback for the latter shows that Liverpool need to be mindful of making issues worse.

That is particularly the case for Bajcetic, who only turned 19 in October, with the club taking every precaution to ensure his body is prepared for a 15-plus-year career.

This all means the latest headlines around Bajcetic can, for now, be boiled down to: ‘Man changes into his uniform at work’.