Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will reportedly use pre-season to assess Harvey Elliott’s progress as he weighs up whether or not the teenager, whom he labelled an “exciting prospect” last summer and is known to be a massive fan of, is ready to play for the club’s first team.
Still only 17, the England youth international has excelled on loan at Blackburn Rovers in the Championship this season.
Elliott has supplied five goals and 11 assists in 35 appearances across all competitions for Tony Mowbray’s mid-table Rovers and does not even turn 18 until April 4 (this Sunday).
The teenage wonderkid, a self-confessed Liverpool fan, has spent much of his season at Ewood Park out on the right wing but can also capably play on the left side or as a central attacking midfielder.
And as Liverpool look to revamp their front line, with Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri expected to move on this summer and another Diogo Jota-like signing eyed, the versatile Elliott is one player who has an exciting future at Anfield.
Signed from Fulham in summer of 2019, the Premier League’s youngest ever player – at 16 years and 30 days – has already made nine senior appearances for Liverpool.
Elliott came off the bench in Premier League wins over Sheffield United and Crystal Palace last term and started six Carabao Cup and FA Cup matches.
He also impressed at youth level and notched one goal and five assists in the UEFA Youth League to go with two goals and four assists in 12 Premier League 2 outings.
The Athletic say Klopp will give Elliott, the second-youngest player ever to play for Liverpool, the chance to prove himself worthy of a spot in the senior squad over the course of pre-season.
The Liverpool manager has previously been effusive in his praise of the youngster, who is expected to have a massive future on Merseyside.
The German coach was glowing in his assessment of Elliott after he signed his first professional contract last July, saying: “Harvey is such an exciting prospect. We all know his qualities – we have seen them this season in the first team and U23s.
“I love his attitude, love his enthusiasm, love his bravery, love the fact he has the right amount of football confidence and cheekiness.
“I think the public maybe doesn’t know the real Harvey yet and part of that is because we have looked to shield and protect him.
“But he is such a nice, polite, humble boy – who is appreciative of the talent and opportunity he has – and just loves football.
“He loves the game first and foremost, would play every minute of every day if he could – and he loves this club also and that’s a nice mixture.”
While he had previously declared of Elliott after his debut against Arsenal in the League Cup in 2019: “He is an exceptional talent. I liked it [his performance] a lot, he played really well, not like you would expect a 16-year-old boy to play, that’s cool.”
Klopp is clearly a huge fan of the player’s talents but has repeatedly warned that he must be given time and patience to flourish, indicating he could instead loan Elliott out again next term.
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Liverpool were ordered to pay a guaranteed compensation fee of £1.5million to Fulham in February for Elliott, plus £2.8m in potential performance-based add-ons.
In a statement reacting to the Professional Football Compensation Committee’s verdict, Liverpool said: “Liverpool Football Club respects the outcome of the PFCC’s fair and thorough process in this matter.
“We would like to thank the panel for their time and diligence in reaching a decision.
“We now look forward to welcoming Harvey back from his loan spell with Blackburn Rovers in the summer and helping him continue to build towards a long and successful career at Anfield.”
And Elliott is already proving himself worth that amount out on loan at Blackburn, and will be eager to show to Liverpool he’s good enough to feature regularly for Klopp as early as next season.