Liverpool’s dominant 3-0 victory over Leeds on Sunday was marred by an ugly incident. Leeds United’s Pascal Struijk chased down Harvey Elliott from behind, grabbed the young midfielder’s his shoulder to hold him back, and went in on him with a scissor tackle that left the young Red needing to be stretchered off the pitch.
While some pundits sought to cast the incident as unavoidable and simply unlucky, it’s the sort of tackle outlawed in most places in football. Even if there was no intent to injure, it’s the sort of tackle outlawed most places in football precisely because of the high risk of injury to the player being tackled. It’s the kind of tackle that ends careers.
Fortunately, the early signs are at least that Elliott’s injury isn’t as bad as initially feared. The dislocated ankle was able to be put back into place on the pitch, suggesting no serious fracture and at least bringing with it the chance of less ligament damage and a quicker return to action—though quicker in this case is relative.
“I’m of course absolutely devastated with what happened yesterday at Leeds but have been totally overwhelmed by the love and support shown to me by the entire football world,” Elliott said on Instagram. “Thank you so much to everyone who has reached out or sent messages to me and my family, it means so much to us.
“I am now fully focused on my recovery and will give everything in my rehabilitation to be back out there as soon as I can. I know I have an incredible support network behind me. To all of the Liverpool fans, your support means the world to me. I’m one of you and I can’t wait to be back faster, fitter and stronger to help the team in the future.”
Elliott is expected to undergo surgery this week, possibly on Tuesday, after which the extent of the damage and a recovery timeline will be clearer, with the best possible outcome one that might see the 18-year-old rising star back in training by Christmas and playing again some time in the new year.