Liverpool beat Burnley 2-0 on Saturday as a packed crowd returned to Anfield. The fans got to witness a brand new weapon at Jurgen Klopp’s disposal.
Pre-season was an interesting one at Liverpool. We saw several players return from injuries, a brand new signing at the back and a couple of youngsters look very impressive.
One of those youngsters was Harvey Elliott, of course, and the 18-year-old is even playing a new position. Elliott now appears to be a full-time centre-midfielder, playing on the right of a central three – a role we like for him.
But it’s not just Elliott who could benefit. We wrote three weeks ago about the potential in a new ‘triple-threat’ on the right flank – Elliott, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohamed Salah.
And Liverpool showed it off for the first time as they beat Burnley 2-0 on Saturday. So how did it go?
Alexander-Arnold, Elliott, Salah
Unsurprisingly, the trio looked great. All three consistently swapped in and off the flank with one another, allowing both Alexander-Arnold and Salah to frequently move inside.
And that’s the highlight of all this. Elliott’s comfort out wide allows the other two far more space to utilise. They know they can drift inwards as the teenager is perfectly fine drifting the other way.
We saw that to perfection for the second goal. Elliott moved right onto the flank, while Alexander-Arnold moved into the middle. Burnley were caught out as they weren’t entirely sure how to mark it.
Thus the right-back was in oceans of space. Salah stayed wide, which stretched Burnley further, while Sadio Mane moved into the centre-forward role.
But Alexander-Arnold being open created the problem. Virgil van Dijk switched play to Elliott, who controlled the ball and found his full-back.
That forced Mane’s marker to push out and try to stop Alexander-Arnold, who effortlessly flicked the ball on for the no.10 to score. It was a wonderful goal.
Honestly, though, this was just one moment. Liverpool were very unfortunate not to score another goal through this linkup. Elliott found Salah with a fantastic little pass in the box but the Egyptian’s finish was ruled out for offside.
Perhaps a stat sums it all up best, though. Liverpool created 12 chances through this trio. Alexander-Arnold set up seven, Elliott three and Salah two.
That was over 50% of their overall created chances. It was nearly half of their overall shots (27).
There should be no doubt, then. This trio is one to watch going forward; the movement and creativity is too much for most teams to handle.
And this is just the start. They’ll only get better as a unit, while Elliott will simply get better by himself. Jurgen Klopp has found a real weapon here.