Liverpool FC

Harvey Elliott has every right to think he can make it in Liverpool's first team

Ross Jackson
May 6, 2021, 5:15 PM GMT+1
Harvey Elliott has vowed to make waves in the Liverpool first team next season
Harvey Elliott has vowed to make waves in the Liverpool first team next season / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

The loan system in England is a little bit broken.

There was a time when it was used to offer youngsters a chance to grow and develop as a player before returning the their parent club as a much more well-rounded footballer with the mentality and the ability to challenge for a place in the team.

Harvey Elliott playing against Derby
Harvey Elliott playing against Derby / Jan Kruger/Getty Images

If we're completely honest, nowadays it's just used by English football's behemoths to put their players in the shop window before recouping ridiculous sums of money for a player who's barely even trained with their first team - let alone played an actual game.

If there's one thing you don't need us to tell you right now it's that football is a business, and if a big club has a chance of snapping up a promising youngster with no intention of offering him a chance in the team but knowing they'll make £8m on him after wasting four years of his time, you'd better believe they're going to do it.

Ironically, Liverpool aren't averse to partaking in the above scenario themselves, but they've used the loan market to absolute perfection in the case of Harvey Elliott.

The Reds' decision to allow the youngster to leave on loan may have raised a few eyebrows at the time given he looked to be making waves in the first team having become the Premier League's youngest ever debutant.

The Championship switch was a bold move given the, erm, shall we say unforgiving nature of the second tier, though there was far more forethought went into the sanction of the deal than just 'yeah send him to a lower league club'.

Blackburn was the perfect destination for the then 17-year-old - and no we don't mean because of the gorgeous Lancashire scenery or booming Bolton nightlife.

Tony Mowbray's setup at Ewood Park is very similar to Jurgen Klopp's at Liverpool, with both playing a fluid 4-3-3 formation and the aforementioned tacticians demanding energy and a desire to immediately win the ball back from their players.

Had Klopp opted to let Elliott leave on loan to Middlesbrough for example, it would be all well and good him returning to Anfield with double figures in goals and assists, but as soon as the Liverpool boss whipped the tactics board out the youngster would be left scratching his head and asking 'where's the Yorkshire fella just screaming BE F*CKING DISCIPLINED?' before every match.

So, we've touched on Liverpool's stellar work in the move, but has the youngster delivered at Ewood Park?

Simple answer really - absolutely.

Elliott has been one of Rovers' standout players this season and the success of Adam Armstrong has undoubtedly been aided by the little magician playing alongside him in the frontline.

His six goals and 11 assists in this season's Championship seem to have gone underappreciated somewhat following Rovers' disastrous second half to the season, though who knows how much closer to the drop zone they'd be were it not for Elliott's wizardry.

The youngster has provided the league with some of the standout moments of the season, with his solo goal against eventual champions Norwich at the back end of last year a particular highlight.

Having only recently turned 18, you can only imagine what it's like to come up against stereotypical Championship centre-backs - which may sound like a bit of a cliché but believe us when we say there's still plenty of them about - looking to steam through you in the opening five minutes and 'welcome you to the game'.

But the truth of the matter is Elliott has just proven to be too good for said defenders time and time again and no sooner have they tried to 'welcome him to the game' has the teenager waved them goodbye.

Mowbray has a number of technically gifted attacking options in his squad such as Stewart Downing and Lewis Holtby, though it's no surprise Elliott has trumped the pair of them when it comes to appearances in the starting XI this season given the energy and endeavour Mowbray looks for from his players.

Aside from talent, one thing any youngster looking to prosper in the second tier needs is attitude. There's no use turning up at Cardiff away and hiding behind players the second Aden Flint has put you on your backside after five minutes.

It probably doesn't take a rocket scientist to take one look at Elliott with his boy band hairstyle and upturned collar to know that the Liverpool loanee has bucket loads of attitude and that's undoubtedly one of the reasons he's enjoyed such an impressive spell in the Championship.

The 18-year-old recently spoke of his confidence that he can make it in the Liverpool first team next season and in all honesty we can't see any reason why he shouldn't be making such bold claims.

Elliott has the attitude, the ability and the nous to play in Klopp's system at Liverpool and he'll definitely make an impression at the club next season if he's given the chance.