After winning the Champions League in June, 2019, Liverpool had quite an uneventful transfer window. While we the departures of long-serving players like Daniel Sturridge and Alberto Moreno, there were no big name transfers. Only the free signing of Adrián and then 16-year-old Harvey Elliott from Fulham.
It was a dream come for Harvey who is a Liverpool fan since his boyhood days. Holder of a couple of records already, Elliott is the youngest player to play in the EFL Cup. He was 15 years and 174 days. He the youngest player to play in the Premier League as well, aged 16 years and 30 days. All this while he was at the London Club.
Signing for Liverpool
Already showing glimpses of his massive potential, Harvey was scouted by Liverpool, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2019. Real Madrid, for a player of his age, is always tempting.
He was even taken on a tour around the Bernebeú (and was allegedly offered a meeting with Sergio Ramos which Elliott declined. Which Liverpool fan hasn’t heard of THAT story?) but when Liverpool came knocking on his door, it became a no-brainer for Elliot. On 28th July, 2019, he signed for Liverpool for an undisclosed fee. On that day itself, he made his first appearance for his new club in a 3-0 defeat against Napoli in a friendly.
He started verses Milton Keyes Dons in the Carabao Cup on 25th September, 2019. Doing, Elliot became the youngest player EVER to represent Liverpool Football Club. He went on to make his Premier League debut for Liverpool against Sheffield United at home, replacing Mo Salah in injury time.
All this showed how much Klopp rates young Harvey even at his tender age, who signed his first professional contract with Liverpool on 6th July, 2020.
Loaned to Blackburn Rovers
However, Harvey Elliott clearly still needed some first team experience in order to break into the Liverpool senior team. Klopp couldn’t offer that at the moment, with the likes of Mohamed Salah, Xherdan Shaqiri (and even Diogo Jota, after his arrival) as options in Elliot’s preferred position on the right wing.
Thus, Elliott was loaned off for this season to Championship side, Blackburn Rovers, in October 2020. A move that turned out to be beneficial for both the clubs AND Elliott.
The 17-year-old is evidently growing as a player, and is finally catching some attention in the Championship. Today, we will put forward Elliott’s stint in the English second tier so far and make you more familiar with our very own star kid and how he is doing at his temporary club.
What kind of a player is he?
Unless a Liverpool fan watches or follows Blackburn Rovers’s matches, he or she perhaps won’t be well acquainted with the way Elliott plays, given his limited appearances for the Liverpool first team. According to whoscored.com, his strengths and weaknesses are:
•Passing (very strong)
•Through balls (very strong)
•Key passes (very strong)
•Holding on to the ball (strong)
•Defensive contribution (weak)
Near perfect attributes for a young right winger. His only known minus point is his defensive contribution, which can easily be rectified as he grows older and eventually plays in Klopp’s system.
He as a tendency to play long balls and crosses. Having incredible vision for his age, he is a very creative player who always is on the lookout to create chances. Elliott is also s good at playing in 1v1s and and is great at link up play.
At Blackburn, Elliott has played 4 positions so far, central midfield, as an advanced playmaker in attacking midfield, and as an inverted right or left winger. He has performed best as a CM with an average rating of 7.4 (2 apps)and the least well at the attacking midfield role, with an average rating of 6.65 (1 app). He has made 13 appearances on the right wing with an average rating of 7.1 and 8 goal contributions.
2020/2021 Championship Statistics
Now, as usual, let us look at the stats!
(According to whoscored.com)
(All are adjusted to be per game)
Fouls given away– 0.3
Dribbled past- 0.6
Key passes– 2
Fouls won– 0.8
Pass success rate- 79.9%
Long balls– 3.1
Through balls– 0.3
All this in 1549 minutes of action in 19 appearances. Elliott has made the Blackburn starting eleven 75% of the times, has played 72% of the available minutes and has participated in 28% of Blackburn Rovers Championship goals this season. Great numbers for a teenager who had spent the better part of last year as a youth player for Liverpool.
He has 11 G/A in 19 appearances (!) and currently sits at second spot at most assists provided this season, just 1 behind Reading’s Michael Olise. He has been averaging a direct goal contribution every 140 minutes played.
Blackburn’s leading assist provider, Elliott has the second most points produced for Blackburn. He has the joint most big chances created in the Championship and also has the fifth most chances created (via @MaaxiAngelo on Twitter).
He ranks first among u18 players in the top 2 tiers of Europe’s top 5 ranked country, 4 goal contributions clear of Dortmund’s Giovanni Reyna, who is placed second.
How can anyone not be impressed by the numbers our Harvey is putting up this season?
What lies ahead for Harvey?
For now, Elliott will see out the rest of his loan at Ewood Park, returning to his parent club in the summer. He might be sent on another loan again, to mature and grow more, preferably in a Premier League side (Bielsa’s Leeds United would be perfect, if they avoid relegation). It would do him good to get some top-flight experience before settling down at Liverpool for good.
Or, Klopp can take the same approach which he took with Curtis Jones. Jones, instead of being sent on loan, was slowly integrated into the senior squad for majority of the 2019/20 season. Now, Jones might as well be a senior Liverpool player, already a number of first team starts under his belt this season.
However, whatever happens, we should be content with knowing that Liverpool have a future star at their hands. The youngster is blossoming into something special in his loan spell at the Championship.
One might argue that it’s only the Championship, but do remember, the lad is just 17 years old. Remember the name.
Read more by Priyasha Bhowmik.