Coming into this preseason, Liverpool fans were excited to see 18 year old Harvey Elliott get his chance with Liverpool FC’s first team. The youngster had an extremely impressive season on loan with Blackburn Rovers last year in the Championship, serving as the creative hub for the team despite being just 17 years old for most of the season. He finished the year with 7 goals and 11 assists, which had Reds fans salivating over his potential.
The biggest question for this year was whether Elliott would go on loan to a Premier League team, or if he would stay with Liverpool as a back up for Mohamed Salah on the right wing. Liverpool have made it clear that they plan to keep young Elliott with the senior squad this year, rebuffing inquiries from several clubs.
Now, however, a new question has arisen — just where will Elliott play? Thus far in preseason, he has been deployed deeper than expected, playing in a midfield role rather than as a wide forward. Whether by need or by design is yet to be determined, but Elliott doesn’t seem to care as long as it gets him on the field.
“Wherever I play, I’m just excited to put the shirt on every single game, give it my 100 per cent, work as hard as I can and just try to influence the game,” said Elliott after the friendly with Hertha Berlin.
“Wherever the gaffer tells me to play, I’m more than confident and willing to play there. It’s just all about putting on the shirt again and giving it 100 per cent.”
Liverpool’s young number 67 (though he should be in line for a new number should he choose) has unsurprisingly been impressive in his deeper role. His vision and silky passing skills have been on display, frequently looking to unlock defenses with wonderfully weighted through balls or creating quick combinations with his midfield counterparts. With his lack of pure speed, playing as a more advanced midfielder in a 4-3-3, or playing in the hole underneath in a 4-2-3-1 could ultimately best suit his overall game.
Of course, there could still be minutes for Elliott playing in a more advanced role. Depending on transfers (fun!), he could be in line for some significant minutes this winter when Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané are away for the African Cup Of Nations.
For Elliott, he’s not reading too much into where he is on the field, and is really just worried about getting those competitive minutes ahead of the Premier League season and learning and growing no matter what the results are. Despite the 4-3 loss to Hertha Berlin yesterday, Elliott remains upbeat about the overall progression for himself and the team.
“[T]hat’s what pre-season is about; making these mistakes here,” said Elliott.
“We’re all going to reflect and learn on them and then when the season comes I’m sure we’ll cut them out. But it’s pre-season, a defeat is a defeat – everyone is obviously not in the best of moods, but we’re going to reflect on it and go again next game. We go into every single game thinking we can beat any team, whether it’s pre-season or in a league game. Whatever the competition is, we go in giving it 100 per cent, feeling like we can give it our all and get the win. Obviously it didn’t go our way today but we can reflect on it and next game put it right. We’re not making any excuses, because at the end of the day our performance wasn’t good enough. But we’ll go again next game.”
Young Harvey and the Reds are in action next Thursday with two 60-minute matches against Bologna.