Elliott’s Stellar Play Secures Man of the Match
This was a game littered with entertaining performances and strong endeavours by several Liverpool players. Cody Gakpo was efficiently good, after a very inconsistent start to the 2023/24 campaign. To come away with two well taken goals, will do the Dutch forward the world of good, which coincides with the potentially long-term absence of Diogo Jota. Caoimhin Kelleher enjoyed a game that was busy and at times superb, which is an ideal situation given that Alisson Becker is now also injured and out for a couple of weeks, at least. Kostas Tsimikas was a constant outlet on the left and very nearly scored the goal of the night, if not for the efforts of the opposing crossbar. Wataru Endō enjoyed a fine evenings work and is continuing to grow into the solid squad addition that his German manager so craves.
Despite these good performances within a thoroughly entertaining match up, one player stood out the most, which was the England under-21 star, Harvey Elliott.
Elliott’s Control and Playmaking
The most satisfying takeaway from this evening’s game, was undoubtedly the maturing nature of how the 20-year-old controlled the game state. As a natural winger that is often tasked into unfamiliar situations and routinely tasked as a second half substitute, the former Fulham prodigy was able to display brilliance in playmaking, as his Japanese counterpart shielded the backline. Ryan Gravenberch offered a dynamic and physical presence to stride forward with the ball at his feet, which left the orchestration of the game to fall on the slight shoulders of tonight’s Europa group stage man of the match. Some electric and often unplayable movements from both Mohamed Salah and Luis Díaz, meant that there was always options and opportunities for Harvey to find his runners, as the game stretched from end to end in a lovely and free flowing game of football. There appeared to be more precision and smart decision making than what we have witnessed prior, which was not unlike what we often laud Trent Alexander Arnold for.
Elliott’s Evolving Role and Impact
Though others may gain statistical plaudits for their goals and assists tonight, it could well be that the future England international starts to evolve his game into something like what Bernardo Silva offers Manchester City. Intelligence, ingenuity, close control, variation in play, and a desire to work for his team, are facets that make it easy to understand why Jürgen Klopp so adores his 5ft 8inch dynamo. I wrote earlier in the season how the young man (with 130 senior appearances), could well force his way into Gareth Southgate’s summer plans. These types of displays can only aid his case for a place in the Three Lions European Championships squad, especially as inevitable injuries always create unlikely openings in such a difficult and long Premier League season.
Liverpool 2.0 and Elliott’s Rising Star
Tonight was about securing qualification to the knockout stages of the Europa League, yet this season of regeneration is also opening continuing opportunities for players to express themselves within the secondary European competition. This game against the Austrian Bundesliga side, saw the former Blackburn Rovers loanee shine brighter than more established and experienced players, however, on his 18th appearance of this season of change, the Liverpool supporter and man of tonight’s match was a level above all others. Liverpool 2.0 is about creating a new dynasty for the fanbase to support, which is allowing the clubs popular number 19 to work his way into a group, which could enjoy as much success as its world class predecessor.
Harvey Elliott Appreciation Tweet. 💎 pic.twitter.com/JDjEXF9hAu
— Samuel (@SamueILFC) November 30, 2023
Liverpool 5 – 1 LASK