Elliott started Liverpool’s pre-season friendly defeat to Hertha Berlin and produced another mature performance in the Reds’ midfield earning him some significant praise
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Liverpool youngster Harvey Elliott has been bestowed with the ultimate compliment after being compared with Barcelona legends Xavi and Andres Iniesta.
The 18-year-old has already been making waves in his brief professional career, following an early debut for Fulham and a thrilling spell on loan at Blackburn.
Now back at Anfield, Elliott is pushing for a place in Jurgen Klopp’s side for the new season – and is clearly making quite the impression.
He started in the Reds’ 4-3 pre-season friendly defeat to Hertha Berlin on Thursday and produced an exciting display, leaving former Liverpool hero Jason McAteer reeling off the names of elite stars from yesteryear.
No pressure then, son.
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“I’m a big fan from the minute I saw him,” McAteer gushed on LFC TV. “I saw him in a pre-season friendly in Switzerland, his pass appreciation, his touch. He was sensational.
“I think it was key for him to go out on loan. He looks a bit stockier. He’s come back from Blackburn, probably learnt a lot. He looked comfortable. That will stand him in good stead to come back because he has that experience.
“His best position is a million dollar question. For me I do see – and these are big names coming out – I do see Xavi and Iniesta in him. I see Thiago as well, that kind of player developing.
“When I say that, I see a player who can see a pass, is comfortable on the ball – he’ll have it in a phone box. He always wants to get on it, his head’s on a swivel always looking around but he can execute.”
Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
Despite the teenager’s promising talent, he still faces quite the task to emulate Barca’s iconic midfield duo, and even getting into Liverpool’s starting XI is a tall order.
That said, there is a potential spot to be filled in Jurgen Klopp’s lineup, following Georginio Wijnaldum’s departure, while talk of long-term replacements for Liverpool’s front three often pits the spotlight back at Elliott’s feet.
Discussing his possible role for the campaign ahead, McAteer assessed: “I’d like to see him in [defensive midfield] but Liverpool’s position they play is very pragmatic, that destroyer that breaks things up.
“He’s going to have to find a way into this team either side or higher up and is he gonna get [Sadio] Mane or [Mohamed] Salah out of the picture? Not in the near future.
“He might get one of them midfield positions left or right of Fabinho but that’s maybe a little while yet. But he’s moving in the right direction, he could be a little superstar.”
Liverpool found themselves two goals down to Hertha but hit back through Mane and Takumi Minamino, before ex-Man City star Stevan Jovetic bagged a brace to restore the advantage.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain grabbed a late consolation on a night where Liverpool’s biggest positive was the double return of defensive duo Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez – though Elliott’s contribution was a close second.
Asked where his favoured position is, Elliott replied: “I’ll play anywhere to be honest, I’m just excited to put the shirt on every game, give it my all 100%, work as hard as I can and just try and influence the game.
“Wherever the gaffer tells me to play I’m more than confident and willing to play there.”
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