Harvey Elliott got his first Premier League start in midfield against Burnley on Saturday. The 18-year-old Liverpool talent is ahead of schedule.
Liverpool went into this season viewing Harvey Elliott as a midfield option. That was clear from how Jurgen Klopp used him in pre-season.
And that was something of a risk. Elliott has one full season of senior football under his belt – last season on loan with Blackburn Rovers.
But he spent that spell playing almost entirely on the right flank. What limited experience Elliott has came out there and at a lower level.
The decision to throw him into midfield as he moved up a level at just 18 is quite a big one, then. Or at least, a big show of faith in the teenager.
And against Burnley on Saturday, we saw why that faith is there.
Harvey Elliott in midfield
Elliott started on the right of Liverpool’s midfield three, much as he did throughout pre-season. He put in a very decent performance, too.
Elliott created three chances, for instance – the joint-third most in the game. That’s quite fantastic for a young player on his full Premier League debut.
But it was the little things that really impressed us. For instance, Elliott wasn’t dispossessed once, he won five fouls, picked up an interception, and worked two shots.
In other words, Elliott was reliable. That’s not something you can usually say about an 18-year-old and it suggests the youngster is ahead of schedule here.
Because if he’s doing this now, Elliott is going to look quite phenomenal in a few months once he gains confidence and develops more as a player. Liverpool can rely on him now when, realistically, he’s the worst he’s going to be for some time.
We’d even argue that Elliott was more impressive than Naby Keita here and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain last week. It might be enough to have him at least competing with them in the pecking order, even if he’s not quite ahead of them.
And to be saying that just two games into the season is phenomenal. It’s only upwards from here and we think its enough to change the plans already.
Elliott shouldn’t just be a young kid look for development games. The teenager is a genuine option already.