While Liverpool’s season hasn’t seen the Reds manage to live up to expectations, with injuries conspiring to undermine their Premier League title defence, young Harvey Elliott has exceeded them on loan with Blackburn in the Championship.
The young winger, still just 18 years old, has been one of Blackburn’s best—and one of the best in England’s second division, where he is one of three finalists for young player of the season after proving he can thrive under the pressure of being a key player.
“I like the pressure,” Elliott said earlier this week. “I think it makes me thrive a bit more and makes me go a bit further. To have the ‘go-to’ above my head kind of thing, it sort of just makes me want to show people that I can be the go-to person.
“I just want to keep going throughout my career and, hopefully, I can be the go-to person to win games. I think it’s a big risk for [Blackburn], taking me on loan, being young as well and not really knowing what I could produce and how I would cope.
“My thought process was just to go in and give it 100 per cent in every training session, every game. Thankfully, it came off in a nice way. I’ve learned so much and I can’t thank Blackburn enough really for these opportunities.”
Now, with the season winding down and Blackburn looking safely mid-table in the Championship, the focus will slowly start to turn to next season for Elliott, with the player’s goal being to return to Liverpool and claim a place in the first team.
He knows it won’t be easy, but with Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri expected to depart in the summer there may be room to show the club a new signing isn’t needed and to earn minutes as the fifth choice for three attacking positions.
On that front, his six goals and eleven assists this season—a goal involvement every 159 minutes in the Championship—do show promise for a player who wants to join Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino, and Diogo Jota in the Reds’ rotation.
“Just to not rest and keep pushing forward and to get into the Liverpool team really,” he said when asked about his goal for next season. “It’s not going to be handed to me. I need to work hard for it and show that I am talented enough to do it.”