Harvey Elliott has surprisingly played in midfield in Liverpool’s opening two pre-season games.
The 18-year-old is back at the club and ready to make an impact after a phenomenal season on loan at Blackburn last season.
It looks likely that he will play a big role for the Reds next season.
The youngster played the majority of his minutes last season on the right-wing. He did the same in 2019/20 for Liverpool’s u23 side.
His superb creativity and left-footedness made it a natural home for him.
Yet, as we speculated earlier this summer, it looks like he could be transformed into a No 8 going forward.
Elliott lacks the lights-out pace that Jurgen Klopp likes to see in his wingers. The Englishman is more of a goal-creator, while Klopp uses his wide forwards as goal-scorers.
He shone in a right-sided centre-midfield role against Stuttgart last Tuesday. He played the same position against Mainz on Friday, albeit to slightly less effect.
While we do expect Elliott to get some minutes on the right flank next season, his position in pre-season indicates that he will predominantly be used in midfield.
That could eliminate the need for Liverpool to sign a Gini Wijnaldum replacement.
But if Elliott is moved back, it would mean that the Reds will need to sign not one but two forward options.
Elliott can be the midfield signing but Reds still need two new boys
We know that Liverpool need a midfielder and a forward.
Gini Wijnaldum has left, meaning Liverpool need someone that can play as a No 8 and as a No 6.
The Reds also need to upgrade the competition for the front three.
Xherdan Shaqiri, Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino all look likely to leave.
In our mind, Elliott was going to be the Shaqiri replacement.
If he is instead going to be the Wijnaldum replacement, Liverpool will need to sign two forwards.
Michael Edwards can hold off on signing a midfielder, for now, perhaps targetting Jude Bellingham next summer instead.
Last season, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane failed to fire.
While we are hopeful that they will recover their form this season, it is no guarantee.
Diogo Jota will provide excellent competition to one if he stays fit, but someone else will be needed to push the other.
Mohamed Salah could also do with a deputy to ensure that his standards don’t drop, while he also needs a long-term replacement.
Again, if Elliott was to be kept as a right-winger, then he would have been the heir to Salah’s throne. But now that the club see him as a midfielder, they will need to buy someone new.
If it was us, we would target a natural right-winger and a natural striker who can also play wide if needed.
One thing for sure is that Liverpool need more than one new body in this window.