Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Harvey Elliott Must Continue Improvement to Establish Himself at Anfield

Liverpool, Harvey Elliott

Liverpool wouldn’t be in such a promising position without Harvey Elliott.

The 20-year-old assisted a 95th-minute Luis Diaz equalizer against Luton Town, earned them a vital three points with a late goal against Crystal Palace, and has blessed his side with the creativity Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mo Salah usually provide on the right during the duo’s injury absence.

So why would it be a surprise to see the youngster start the Carabao Cup final against Chelsea?

Harvey Elliott Must Continue Improvement

Harvey Elliott Has Been Liverpool’s Supersub

Despite his key contributions, Elliott has started just four Premier League games this season. He’s started every Carabao Cup and Europa League game without registering a single-goal contribution. The England U-21 international clearly plays his best football from the bench and struggles to impact games from the start.

Read More: Carabao Cup Final: Pochettino Vs Klopp All-Time Head To Head Record

Last season, Elliott made 18 starts in the league. However, he failed to impress, and Liverpool’s underperforming midfield was put under the microscope by the media and frustrated fans. Jurgen Klopp’s decision to take the midfielder out of the firing line and let him impact games from the bench has been crucial to Liverpool’s season.

When the former Fulham youngster was given a rare chance to start against Luton, he marked his 100th appearance with a goal and gave supporters at Anfield a glimpse of the future.

Why Elliott Isn’t Starting

Harvey Elliott isn’t starting for two simple reasons.

He isn’t tall enough to play alongside The Reds’ other options in midfield and Mo Salah blocks the 20-year-old’s only other potential avenue into the starting lineup on the right wing. In 2022/23, when played alongside two of Jordan Henderson, Thiago, or Fabinho, it was clear Elliott needed someone gifted in height and athleticism as a partner to be effective.

This season, with the 5’10 Wataru Endo or the 5’9 Alexis Mac Allister playing in the holding midfield role, Jurgen Klopp has preferred to start the taller, more physically gifted Dominic Szoboszlai, Ryan Gravenberch, or Curtis Jones ahead of Elliot. The German has been proven right as Liverpool’s midfield is much harder to play through.

Read More: Xabi Alonso Remains Vague On Links To Liverpool And Bayern Munich

Elliott’s first league start against Brighton & Hove Albion in October brought back The Reds’ vulnerability in midfield and he was taken off at halftime. The youngster’s next Premier League start didn’t come until Boxing Day. He lasted 67 minutes until he was replaced by Diaz.

In his last season, Klopp is prioritising results over the experience the youngster may gain from starting games. He has to earn every minute he gets.

The England U21 international’s best role this season is clearly as a substitute. The energy he brings from the bench is lost if he starts and Liverpool needs all the weapons they can possibly get in a tight title race against Manchester City and Arsenal.

How Harvey Elliott Fits Into Liverpool’s Future

At just 20 years old, there should be no rush for Elliott to reach the levels of Salah or Alexander-Arnold. He has time on his side as he attempts to become a regular Liverpool starter.

Breaking into The Reds’ starting lineup has proved challenging for academy graduates under Klopp. Neco Williams, Rhian Brewster, and Ben Woodburn all struggled to make an impact after initially impressing. The trio were all sold without truly becoming regulars.

Read MoreLiverpool Predicted Lineup vs. Chelsea

The fact that Elliott is playing such a key role for Liverpool is impressive, although he is not starting many games.

Jones is the perfect example of a player taking time to adjust to first-team football after dominating at youth levels. At 23 years old he has only just become a regular in The Reds’ starting lineup. The scouser has already matched the 12 Premier League games he started last season and is a contender to make England’s Euro 2024 squad.

The Surrey-born youngster needs to keep working hard and learning from the talented players around him. If he does Liverpool’s next manager may find a bigger role for him than the departing Klopp has.


More Posts