Joe Cole suggests Liverpool already have a young player even better than Thiago Alcantara
Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Joe Cole suggests Liverpool already have a young player even better than Thiago Alcantara

Harvey Elliott is the player Jurgen Klopp thought he was getting when he brought Thiago Alcantara to Liverpool.

That’s the view of former Reds forward Joe Cole. Speaking to BT Sport before Liverpool’s game against Bournemouth today, Cole claimed that Elliott has all the qualities that Klopp wanted in Thiago.

“When Thiago came through the door and Jurgen Klopp is clearly thinking ‘I’m going to try and bring some quality, someone who can do what Harvey does, run in behind sometimes, not all the time, get on the ball and be good in tight areas.’ I think Harvey is developing into the player that Jurgen Klopp thought Thiago would be,” said the pundit.

“Thiago is fantastic in his own right, but I think Jurgen Klopp’s even been surprised at the development of him [Elliott] and how quickly his improvement’s going in that trajectory.”

Elliott is the only player to feature in every game for Liverpool this season. 39 and counting. With this in mind, Cole believes an England call-up isn’t too far way for the 19-year-old.

“England gets announced next week, he won’t be far off it. He’s playing regularly for Liverpool,” he said.

Klopp gets the variety he was looking for

On the surface, this sounds like the kind of hyperbole we’ve become used to from pundits discussing young English talents.

Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Bur to be fair to Cole, he might be onto something. That isn’t to say that Elliott is better than Thiago – he isn’t. But in terms of the profile of player, they’re not a million miles from each other.

Up to the point that Thiago was signed, Liverpool’s midfield was characterised by workman-like players. Jordan Henderson, Fabinho and Gini Wijnaldum is still the blueprint for the perfect middle of the pitch for Klopp’s Reds. By signing the Spaniard from Bayern Munich in 2020, the boss was obviously trying to add something different.

Despite some similarities, Thiago and Elliott are not the same player. Harvey is generally more forward-thinking and more likely to pop up with goals and assists. Meanwhile the Spaniard is an archetypal deep-lying playmaker. But they’re clearly a sea-change from the likes of Wijnaldum and Henderson, too.

So, maybe what Cole means is that Elliott is merely adding that differentiation that Klopp was looking for. We’d still argue that Thiago has added that just fine, thank you very much. But it’s great to see Harvey earning praise for some excellent recent displays.

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