Jurgen Klopp played Harvey Elliott in a new position as Liverpool kicked off their pre-season on Tuesday. The teenager might just suit it perfectly.
Harvey Elliott had a great season with Blackburn Rovers on long, primarily from a wide-right position. That’s how we know the 18-year-old – someone who drifts in from wide and looks to get between the lines.
He’s a wonderfully creative young player, racking up 11 assists over the campaign and averaging around 1.7 chances created per game. They’re fantastic numbers for a youngster.
Particularly a youngster playing wide. It’s a more difficult position to be creative form, given you’re less involved in the play.
So that makes us wonder – what if Elliott was more involved in play? Would he look even better playing in the middle as a centre-midfielder?
It seems we might find out, judging by Tuesday.
Harvey Elliott position change
Jurgen Klopp played Elliott in a central role as Liverpool kicked off their pre-season friendlies. He was on the right of the three, with Sadio Mane, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mohamed Salah ahead of him.
The game was only 30 minutes long and Elliott never truly got going but positionally, he looked at home. He had the freedom to move across the pitch, while there was an obvious partnership with Salah.
The Egyptian loves drifting inside to find space, which meant Elliott could move wide into a role he knows well. While if Salah stayed on the flank, the teenager moved forwards into the space between the winger and striker.
Speaking of that striker, Oxlade-Chamberlain played a False 9 role in the game. That seems to suit Elliott, whose energy lends itself well to bursting beyond a deeper striker.
So we think Liverpool and Klopp are onto something here. Elliott’s proven creative qualities, coupled with his energy, should thrive in midfield. Developing there makes sense and we may well see the youngster’s best from the role.
At the very least, it improves Elliott’s versatility. He could get into the team in various roles, increasing his opportunities and usefulness as a squad player immediately.
We need to see more to be sure, of course, but this was an encouraging start. Elliott’s move into midfield promises to be one of the more intriguing part of pre-season, should Klopp stick with it.
We really hope he does – it could be the making of one of Liverpool’s brightest prospects.