The hope and the hype surrounding Harvey Elliott has been sky high since he joined Liverpool in 2019 as 16-year-old starlet who had already made three senior Premier League appearance for Fulham.
On Saturday, the boyhood Liverpool fan made his first Premier League start for the Reds and might even have managed to exceed those expectations, impressing massively and going the full 90 minutes against a difficult and rugged Burnley side.
“Harvey’s a special player,” was captain Jordan Henderson’s response to the now 18-year-old’s performance. “He’s been fantastic last season when he was on loan at Blackburn and deserved his start today and I thought he took it.
“I thought he was outstanding, his work rate, but also obviously the stuff he can do on the ball, the final passes. Overall I thought he was outstanding.”
Arriving at Liverpool as a winger, over the most recent pre-season and then on Saturday in his first Liverpool start the youngster was deployed in midfield to utilize his close control and short burst acceleration.
He responded to the challenge of a first start in a new position against one of the league’s most physical opponents by leading both teams in progressive passes, progressive carries, and opponent pressures.
The biggest concern now, after a performance of that calibre, might be finding ways to keep expectations from spiralling out of hand for a young talent with a long way still to go in his development.
One thing is clear, though: even if it’s unreasonable to expect Elliott to start and turn in that kind of a performance every week at this stage in his career, Liverpool have an exceptional talent on their hands, one ready to contribute now.