‘Not a natural’ – BBC pundit says one Liverpool midfielder can’t give Klopp what he wants

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Harvey Elliott inspired a greater degree of trust from Jurgen Klopp after a highly successful loan spell with Blackburn Rovers in which he registered 18 goal contributions in 43 games (across all competitions) – largely playing on the right wing.

Stuart Downing nodded to the teenager’s time in the Championship as an indicator of where he should be playing, paying particular attention to the starlet’s supposed lack of defensive-mindedness.

“I played with Harvey Elliott at Blackburn, and he played more off the right but he’s obviously going to find that difficult with Mo Salah in the way,” the ex-Red told the BBC’s Radio 5 Live podcast Football Daily (via Rousing the Kop).

“He’s sort of found that position in the middle, but is he as disciplined as [Jordan] Henderson and Fabinho? He’s probably not, and looking more to go forward and I reckon they’ll probably target that area and just play off the back of him.

“Elliott’s not defensively-minded and he picked up a lot of space. He’s not a natural midfield player, I think he plays off the right, but it’s going to take some job moving Salah out of the way.”

That being said, the obstacle of Mo Salah on the right flank is no small one, and it’s telling that the Egyptian is yet to miss a single league game for Jurgen Klopp this term.

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Compared to the left flank and the centre of the forward line, there is a considerable lack of depth, of course, though it does beg the question as to what we have planned to ensure that, firstly, there is the possibility of continuity beyond our No.11, and that, secondly, we have alternatives in play to give our 22-goal hitman a break as and when it is needed.

We feel it’s a little harsh to accuse Elliott of lacking defensive nous given that he displayed bags of it against arch rivals Manchester United prior to the disappointment witnessed at the Vitality Stadium.

Playing alongside another teenager away from home quite possibly didn’t help matters either and we’d be surprised if Klopp doesn’t revert back to two experienced midfielders supplemented by one starlet to keep things balanced.

There may very well be a future yet then for the former QPR prodigy in the midfield, though at 19 years of age we shouldn’t be shocked to observe that there’s still much left to learn in order to be a consistently reliable operator in the German’s midfield.

#Ep73 of The Empire of the Kop Podcast: Author chat with Chris Roberts on Football, Mental Health… and more!

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