Harvey Elliott on life in midfield, Dominik Szoboszlai & always demanding more

  • The 20-year-old growing into role as part of Liverpool's core midfield group
  • Elliott tells 90min of his evolution at Anfield and learning to play a new position under Jurgen Klopp
  • England Under-21 international outlines what he wants to achieve at boyhood club and the desire to always push for more
Harvey Elliott is becoming more and more important for Liverpool
Harvey Elliott is becoming more and more important for Liverpool / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

Liverpool’s midfield rebuild was one of the biggest topics of the summer transfer window.

Out went Jordan Henderson and Fabinho, and in their place came Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai, Ryan Gravenberch and Wataru Endo to form what has affectionately become known as ‘Liverpool 2.0’.

Of the new quartet, it’s Szoboszlai who has attracted the most attention from fans. The Hungarian maestro, a £60m signing from RB Leipzig, has won over supporters with his keen eye for a pass and a penchant for a strike from range.

"He's obviously world class and still so young as well," teammate Harvey Elliott tells 90min. "Hopefully he's going to be here for many, many seasons, as well as the other signings as well. Obviously he's probably getting all the headlines but everyone's come in, fitted into the team very well and showcased their talent. 

"To have these players coming in, it's always a positive boost for us. It keeps relationships healthy, getting into positions."

One consequence of the increased competition has been a new role for Elliott. The young midfielder looked set to be the headline act of his own ‘Liverpool 2.0’ before a serious ankle injury derailed his 2021/22 campaign, but he rebounded well and ended last season with 46 appearances in all competitions.

This year, however, Elliott is seeing things from a different angle. Late-game cameos and cup appearances have been the order of business for the 20-year-old, who has still managed to make a real impact in his limited minutes.

"I've kind of had a different role this season," he reflects. "Last season, I was starting a fair few games. Obviously, we've signed new players, got big quality around the team. I've kind of had to approach it from a different perspective.

"For me, it's just making sure I'm ready, I'm watching the game, and then the minute I come on, I know how the team is playing, I know how the opposition are. It's just about me trying to come on, affect the game in the best possible way. So far, it's kind of worked."

The increased competition is of no concern to Elliott, a Team New Balance Athlete who has launched his own boots inspired by his dog Paisley, who instead views the new signings as a gauntlet thrown down by manager Jurgen Klopp.

"You look on the bench and see the quality on the bench, it's like, 'Right, I can't slack in my performance, I need to stay on top and make the most of it'."

That mantra was abundantly clear when Elliott came off the bench for the final 24 minutes of the weekend's draw with Luton Town. In place of Szoboszlai, the 20-year-old was tasked with turning the game around and he did exactly that, grabbing the 95th-minute assist for Luis Diaz's emotional equaliser and helping Liverpool avoid a damaging defeat.

Luis Diaz, Kostas Tsimikas, Darwin Nunez, Harvey Elliott
Elliott created Diaz's emotional equaliser / Clive Rose/GettyImages

It’s only in the past few seasons that Elliott has been playing in midfield. Unveiled as a "16-year-old winger" when he signed for Liverpool in 2019, most of his work these days comes in a central role at the heart of the pitch.

Learning a new position is not always an easy task, but hearing Klopp’s confidence in his ability to shine in midfield was enough to convince Elliott to make the move.

"I wouldn't say it was hard, because I got all the confidence and the backing from the manager and coaching staff," Elliott says. "Obviously it's a new position so it's just about knowing where I need to be positionally, but football-wise, it's just playing the game. It's why you're in a team, why you're good at the sport. It's just about making sure I do both sides of the game.

"I feel like last year especially I learned a lot throughout the season and I feel like I've taken it into this season and I feel a lot better and comfortable in those positions.

"Defensively, last year I was in the wrong positions sometimes and I'd get caught out. Obviously I'm not the biggest compared to any of the other lads so I need to kind of give myself the extra little advantage. I feel like, this season, it's something I've been working on off the pitch as well, trying to analyse games and see where I need to be."

Self-reflection and the desire to be the best are two things that come naturally to Elliott, who credits his father for showing him the importance of demanding more.

"My dad's always drilled it into me," Elliott explains. "There was one story that stands out for me and will do for the rest of my life. 

"We played Tottenham, I think we won 10-1 or something and I think I scored nine, or something like that. The goal we conceded was because of me, I was just dilly-dallying. I got in the car with a big, beaming smile on my face, and he was like, 'Yeah, well done but it was your fault, the goal. You should have done this or that'. I feel like it's kind of stuck with me all the way. If it's him not telling me, I know myself. I'm not beating myself up, but I reflect and want to learn from it and, next opportunity, make sure it's different.

"If I've done something wrong, if I've made a mistake, I don't need people telling me I've done it. It's just about taking responsibility for myself. Social media is social media, people are always going to have opinions. You're the one playing the game, you're the one in the moment. It's about making sure you do what you need to do and give it your best shot."

As Elliott continues to live in the moment, his focus remains on leading his beloved Liverpool to glory.

"We've started very, very well this season," he says. "Obviously the Europa League is another big competition so we need to focus on that.

"We've got the Carabao Cup, FA Cup, the Europa League and hopefully we can win the Prem as well. It's not going to be easy, but as a team, I think the energy around the team is, 'Let's just go for it'."


Harvey Elliott spoke exclusively to 90min at the launch of his own New Balance boots, inspired by his dog Paisley.

On-sale from 7th November at 09.00am GMT, the New Balance Tekela v4 Low, Paisley Edition will be available from selected retailers and online at www.newbalance.co.uk/football.