It was around this time last summer when Harvey Elliott’s trajectory at Liverpool Football Club was fast tracked. The teenager underwent a positional change in pre-season, with Jürgen Klopp seeing a midfielder where we all saw a right winger.

It was a bold move considering Harvey didn’t possess the physical attributes of the archetypical Klopp midfielder. Henderson, Milner, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Emre Can etc have all enjoyed periods of relative success under the German tactician in his near seven year reign.

They were all robust and could run for days, key requirements for the manager’s intense gegenpressing style. The arrival of Thiago Alcantara in the summer of 2020 marked a slight evolution of the Klopp midfield however.

The Spaniard is one of the best in the world at dictating the tempo of matches, and with Klopp and his coaching staff seeking more control, it was a perfect marriage. The Reds have since transitioned into a possession oriented side.

Harvey brought his own characteristics to the midfield role. He approached the switch with typical youthful exuberance and embraced being more heavily involved in games. He has always had a creative edge to him, evidenced when he laid on 11 assists in the Championship for Blackburn the season prior.

He provided this creative spark from the right of a midfield three, and to his credit, didn’t shirk his defensive responsibilities either. He worked hard tracking back to support his right back and was generally a breath of fresh air in the 2021 pre-season.

He slowly earned the manager’s trust, and with many still clamouring for a replacement for the departed Wijnaldum to be signed, Klopp showed faith in Elliott to add to the midfield ranks and cover any issues with depth.

The season kicked off with a trip to Norwich, with Harvey limited to brief cameo in the closing stages. The following week, he was picked to start against Burnley at Anfield. It was a big call as Sean Dyche’s side had a reputation for being very physical.

Harvey thrived though and struck up an immediate relationship with Alexander-Arnold at right back and Salah on the right wing. Burnley couldn’t live with him and resorted to kicking lumps out of him.

The youngster finished the game as the most fouled player on the pitch and was unlucky to see his first assist (a lovely threaded ball for Salah) chalked off by a marginal offside call. The manager’s faith had been rewarded.

The following week, his ascension up the pecking order was underlined when he was selected to start against Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea. At the time, this was a huge battle between two title rivals. Harvey once again lined up on the right of the midfield three.

Skipper Jordan Henderson was forced to operate from the left of the three as a result. It was a hotly contested affair, with the game descending into attack vs defence in the second half following Reece James’ sending off on the stroke of halftime.

Harvey played the entirety of the match and shone in the first half in particular. The second half was tougher going as the Blues’ defensive setup left no space to penetrate. It was still a decent outing for the then 18 year old as he held his own against top opposition.

Following the first international break of the season, Harvey continued enjoying his spell as first choice pick in Jürgen Klopp’s midfield. He went straight into the XI for the trip to Leeds, partnering Fabinho and Thiago in ‘a dream’ midfield.

A little over an hour into the encounter at Elland Road, Harvey’s swift rise was brought to a jarring halt as he sustained a horrendous ankle fracture – dislocation. The youngster was put out of action for almost five months.

It was a terrible moment for a kid who was just making his way in the top flight. You wouldn’t have known it though, as his positive attitude and dedication to rehabilitation took his teammates and coaching staff by surprise.

For one so young, Harvey showcased such maturity. It was therefore so gratifying to see him score his maiden goal for the club upon his return to action against Cardiff City. That couldn’t have been scripted any better to be honest.

Following that, he enjoyed another half hour cameo in the very next game (at home to Leicester) before being thrust straight back into the starting XI for a massive Champions League Round of 16 tie at the San Siro against Inter Milan.

That proved just how highly the manager rated him. In hindsight, it may have been too much too soon, with Harvey struggling to impose himself against the experienced trio of Brozovic, Arturo Vidal and Calhanoglu.

The teenager went on to make just two more starts in the final months of the campaign (away to Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup and at Southampton straight after the FA Cup final), as the Reds chased an unprecedented quadruple.

Harvey required regular minutes to get back up to speed but that was unavailable as the fixtures took on extra significance in the run-in. It was therefore important for him to get playing time with the England U21s in the post season.

He recovered from Covid-19 to provide two assists against Kosovo in a qualifier. A good vacation and a fresh start this summer is the best thing for the 19 year old. He’s already reported for pre-season and looks ready to impress again.

If he can get a solid base under his belt ahead of the 2022/23 campaign, you can be sure he will once again earn the manager’s trust. The Liverpool midfield has come under scrutiny again this summer, with many a fan wanting reinforcements.

It has become an open secret that the club is willing to wait a year for Jude Bellingham, another exciting teenager. Should Harvey Elliott hit those pre-injury heights though, nobody will worry about the midfield this campaign.



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