Editor’s Column: Let’s put our eggs in Harvey Elliott’s basket

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You, your mate and everyone you’ve spoken to about it during this seemingly never-ending transfer window wants a new midfielder at Liverpool.

And in all honesty, when 36-year-old James Milner is starting the second Premier League game of the season, anyone can see why.

But it ain’t happening. Jurgen Klopp doesn’t see the world-class addition he thinks would actively improve the area on the market and for that reason, we’re going to stick.

Interestingly, he cites long contracts as a stumbling block stopping us from buying the players we want. Long contracts mean big transfer fees. Jude Bellingham is tied to Borussia Dortmund until 2025. Next summer he’ll have two years left on his deal. 24 months has become a typical remaining length of contract time when big transfers are done.

“It’s easy for us to bring a midfielder in, it’s not so easy to bring the right midfielder in – for money reasons and contractual reasons,” Klopp told Sky Sports. “Most of the time they go hand in hand.

“It’s not that we deny signing a player if they have a problem with injuries. It’s a different season to the beginning of the pre-season, when everybody told me we needed a new midfielder – it was about the kind of midfielder. And it’s a completely different discussion – we didn’t need a new kind of midfielder.

“But if the right midfielder would have been available, we would have gone there as well. Now the situation changed slightly, that’s true. But it can only be about the right midfielder, that’s not easy.

“It’s because it’s 2022 and people have contracts for four, five six years – and that’s why we have to be calm and solve the problems with the boys we have.”

But whether Bellingham does eventually arrive is irrelevant to this season.

After all, we’re two points from two games – the worst start to a campaign after this many matches since Klopp joined.

We were poor against Fulham on opening day, with the midfield appalling, and wasteful versus Crystal Palace; although the performance was actually pretty good apart from Darwin Nunez’s finishing and his much-discussed head-loss.

One player who has impressed in both games though was Harvey Elliott.

The 19-year-old is emerging as a key option to get us through this injury crisis and ultimately keep his spot in the central-three.

Against Fulham Elliott linked up with Mo Salah especially well and found space between the lines on the right-side of the pitch.

What he did well was move the ball quickly forward upon receiving it. He doesn’t dally in possession, he rarely passes backwards unless he has no other option. Elliott has the ability to inject speed into our attacks through his technicality and vision.

Check out his Fulham highlights, here:

At Anfield, Elliott started in a similar role, but ended up driving through central positions and getting into the penalty area. He had two decent efforts on goal, but his finishing is something that needs to be improved.

Most notably though was his defensive contribution, something that has been often labelled as a weakness.

One three occasions he nips in front of an opponent and wins possession, much to the delight of the crowd.

Again, he turns into space and looks to play forward on basically every occasion he is involved.

Check out his highlights versus Crystal Palace, here:

With Jordan Henderson a better option in the no.6, and when fit Thiago and Naby Keita better options on the left of the midfield, Elliott should be given the chance to make the spot on the right his own.

His talent is extraordinary and there is a fair argument to suggest he’s been Liverpool’s best player so far.

Elliott has a bit of Bernardo Silva about him. A no.8 who finds pockets of space and opens teams up with his skills and by moving the ball over short distances at clever angles.

His physicality will improve as he matures, as will his decision making and composure in the box, but given our current options, Elliott should be considered for the now and not the future.

After all, Elliott leads Liverpool’s midfielders in Tackles Won (4), Successful Pressures (11), Key Passes (3), Successful Dribbles (4), and Shot Creating Actions (9), and he hasn’t played a full 90 in either game. 

Thiago is Liverpool’s best midfielder by some distance, but the reality is he should be considered a luxury given his consistent unavailability.

Elliott has recovered well from his injury and we need a player with spark and creativity who can play every week.

With Curtis Jones and Keita also injured regularly, Elliott must be given a chance. It shouldn’t be considered a risk given he’s been our best performer in these positions so far, either.

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  1. Thiago , Ox , Keita should of been sold & replaced during the summer . We knew they were injury prone . This season may be a fight for fourth . The London clubs – Chelsea , Arsenal , Spurs have spent well .

    1. Klopp said the right midfielder is not available and Thiago`s quality can`t be ignored. Liverpool will be alright

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