Harvey Elliott wasn’t supposed to even be on the bench for the Reds in Sunday’s League Cup final against Chelsea, with Liverpool’s impressive depth and a dearth of injuries meaning there would be no room for the talented youngster.
Then, Thiago Alcantara picked up a minor hamstring strain. Naby Keïta moved from the bench to the starting lineup. And Elliott joined the bench before coming on as a second half substitute—and converting his penalty kick to help win the game.
“It all happened so quick, to be honest,” he reflected after helping the Reds to their ninth League Cup. “But that’s the thing with football, you never know what’s going to come around the corner. You always need to be well prepared.
“Even if emotions were running low because you weren’t in the squad for whatever reason, like I said, you always need to be prepared and if you’re called upon, you need to have the right mentality, the right focus, and just focus on the moment.”
The question now is what comes next. And while the obvious and immediate answer may be Norwich City in the League Cup on Wednesday, there’s a bigger picture next that not just Liverpool fans but also the players are beginning to talk about.
Liverpool have won their first trophy of the season, but they’re well positioned in three other competitions, and there’s a growing confidence and belief in them having a chance to do something historic and make Sunday’s trophy the first of four.
“It’s always a big accomplishment and it’s all credit to everyone who’s played a part to get the team to the final,” Elliott added. “Once we had that feeling, we all said to each other that we want more of it. We were all saying, ‘Three more to go.’
“I’m sure we’ll put up a massive fight to get to those finals and situations in the Premier League. At the end of the day, it’s down to us. We need to work hard, we need to fight for these wins, and we need to fight as a team.”