Liverpool put 'outstanding' player in an awful spot last night, could be time to tear up the plans - RTK View
Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Liverpool put 'outstanding' player in an awful spot last night, could be time to tear up the plans - RTK View

Liverpool put Harvey Elliott in an awful position last night as they lost 2-1 against Manchester United. The 19-year-old wasn’t ready.

Liverpool’s midfield is the big talking point coming out of their defeat at Old Trafford. It simply wasn’t good enough as Jurgen Klopp coped with several missing players.

Thiago, Curtis Jones and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were all out ahead of the game. Naby Keita joined them, leaving Liverpool with only one progressive midfielder – Harvey Elliott.

He started the game with Jordan Henderson and James Milner in midfield. It didn’t work.

That’s not to say that Elliott played poorly. He was actually one of Liverpool’s brightest sparks in the game, but only in the sense of a young player who keeps improving.

But the Reds turned to the 19-year-old as their chief playmaker in midfield. It’s a role he simply wasn’t ready for and Liverpool may need to react to it.

Harvey Elliott put in an awful position

Elliott was good but not at the level Liverpool needed. They required someone who could pick up the ball under pressure and move it through the defensive lines – a very difficult task in an intense game.

While Elliott will be excellent at it one day, he just wasn’t able to stamp any authority on the game. As a result, Roberto Firmino dropped remarkably deep to try and help Liverpool move forward. That didn’t work either, making the Reds incredibly easy to defend.

The result was Mohamed Salah and Luis Diaz struggling to get the ball in decent areas. There was simply no one who could – Liverpool lacked that progressive midfielder who could make United pay for pressing.

Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

And we wonder if that will lead to a change in plans. Liverpool’s only progressive midfielders are Thiago, who has fitness concerns, Keita, who has fitness concerns, Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has fitness concerns, and then Elliott, Curtis Jones and Fabio Carvalho. The latter three simply aren’t experienced enough yet.

Liverpool’s reliance on attacking midfielders increased this season as Darwin Nunez arrived. We’re not sure they can truly rely on any of them to get the ball moving through the middle, though. Certainly not when the pressure is on and injuries are hurting.

They put too much pressure on Elliott in a big game and it highlighted that. He’s an ‘outstanding’ player, in the words of England U21 boss Lee Carsley, but not quite reliable enough to play such a key role. The plan may need changing while there’s still time.

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