If a report from The Athletic is believed to be true, Liverpool have rejected a loan move from Sheffield United for Harvey Elliott. There’s plenty of interest in the 18-year-old wonderkid following an exquisite spell at Blackburn Rovers, but the Reds are determined to keep hold of him as the understudy to Mohamed Salah for the upcoming term.
He became the youngest ever player (at the age of 16 years and 30 days) to play in Premier League during his Fulham days. However, he opted not to extend his stay at Craven Cottage and joined Liverpool to develop his game under Jurgen Klopp’s tutelage. Although the youngster signed his first professional contract last summer, the Merseysiders agreed to pay £1.5 million (plus £2.8 million in bonuses) fees for one of England’s next-gen superstars.
Elliott featured 8 times altogether in 2019-20 and the gaffer handed him a Premier League winners’ medal despite not fulfilling the quota of a minimum of five league appearances. He was loaned out to Blackburn last season for regular minutes and earned massive plaudits for 7 goals as well as 11 assists in 41 Championship outings (stats via Transfermarket).
Why Liverpool Have Made The Correct Call
Liverpool, meanwhile, are open to listening to offers for Xherdan Shaqiri. The Swiss sensation is not in Klopp’s first-team plans, and therefore, keen on experiencing a fresh challenge elsewhere. His exit would see Elliott earning a sporadic status and an array of impressive cameos would lead to opportunities when both Salah and Sadio Mane leave for AFCON.
Predominantly a right winger, the attacker is being tried out in various attacking roles in the ongoing pre-season fixtures. He is attuning to the challenges with sheer expertise and his flexibility must have relieved the Anfield chief amid financial constraints in the wake of the pandemic.
Having said that, the Reds should opt for a centre-forward this summer to challenge and cover Roberto Firmino for the ‘number 9’ role. The Brazilian struggled in front of goal all throughout the previous term and the presence of Divock Origi did no favour either while dealing with the scoring drought earlier this year. The latter had his moments over the years but is now a spent force who should be allowed to depart if a suitable offer is received in the coming days.
Elliott might not be as pacy and prolific as the enigmatic Egyptian, but his composure, footwork and dribbling traits are difficult to interpret for the fullbacks. He is intelligent enough to mix his moves and this unpredictability of his game adds more value down the wide. All these indicate the fact that a big season lies ahead for the teenage prodigy who must make his chances count in the top flight of English football.