Liverpool star left out of Olympic Games squad as Arne Slot handed pre-season boost

Stefan Bajcetic and Wataru Endo of Liverpool during a training session at AXA Training Centre
-Credit: (Image: Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Liverpool have been handed a boost after Stefan Bajcetic was left out of Spain’s squad for this summer’s Olympic Games.

The 19-year-old has missed most of the last 15 months through injury and was limited to just three appearances for the Reds last season as a result. However, he had an outside chance of being called up for the tournament in Paris after returning to action at the end of last season.

Capped once by Spain Under-21s, with that maiden outing coming back in September 2023, the teenager had looked set to be named in their squad for last summer’s Under-21s European Championships in Romania and Georgia prior to his season-ending injury.

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But he hasn’t been selected in Santi Denia’s 22-man squad for Spain’s pre-Olympic Games training camp, with the coach admitting it was: “The most difficult squad I've ever had to make.”

The Spain squad will link up at the Ciudad del Futbol to start their preparations on July 1, before travelling to Bordeaux for a warm-up match against the United States Olympic team on July 18. They are then scheduled to face Uzbekistan in their first game in the Olympics group-stages on July 24, and will also face Dominican Republic and Egypt.

Bajcetic’s absence is good news for Liverpool, especially after his recent injury woes, as participation in the Olympic Games, with the men’s football tournament taking place between July 24 and August 9, would have resulted in missing the majority of pre-season.

Instead, the Spaniard will be free to work under new head coach Arne Slot as he looks to make up for lost time with the Reds.

While Bajcetic has not been included in the Spain squad, it remains to be seen if Egypt and Japan will call up Mohamed Salah and Wataru Endo as overage players respectively.

Egypt have already admitted they would like to select the Liverpool forward, well Endo himself has conceded that he wishes to represent his country in Paris. Teams have until July 3 to submit their final 22-man squads for the Olympic Games.