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It may not have looked obvious in Liverpool’s 3-2 Champions League win over AC Milan nor in their 3-0 win against Crystal Palace on Saturday in the Premier League, but Harvey Elliott’s dislocated ankle injury has been a major blow to the Reds.
Elliott is a rising superstar in the football world and he could have been a full England international by the end of the current campaign. However, Pascal Struijk’s poorly timed and dangerous tackle has sidelined the teenage phenom for the foreseeable future.
Harvey Elliott has undergone successful surgery on the ankle injury he sustained during Sunday’s victory at Leeds United.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) September 14, 2021
Even if Elliott returns to the team this season, it is unlikely that the teenager will have the impact on the team he previously did. How important was Elliott to Liverpool? That’s like asking how important it is to eat food and drink water each day.
Elliott’s form kept Thiago on the sidelines even when the Spaniard was fit. The former Bayern man is once again injured and awaiting a scan, making Liverpool’s midfield depth even thinner.
Despite not collecting a goal or an assist, Elliott has been in scintillating form for Jurgen Klopp on the right side of the midfield three. The most amazing aspect of Elliott’s form is that he is traditionally a right winger.
Having Mohamed Salah in his place has allowed Klopp to move the versatile youngster into the midfield. If Salah’s current contract issues do not get resolved, Elliott could eventually move into the front three.
But for now, he is an attacking midfielder next to Fabinho and Jordan Henderson.
Elliott has tallied seven shots with one on target. It isn’t scoring that Elliott is tasked with doing currently, however. The English lad’s job is to be the creative hub of the team, something he is excelling at, and something Liverpool lacked for large parts of the season in 2020-21.
He has completed 157 passes while making 184 for a completion rate of 85%. He isn’t in the team to make tackles attempting just five. The Liverpool midfielder averages 2.51 shots per 90 minutes and 1.79 key passes per 90 minutes.
Liverpool are +1.44 in plus/minus goals with Elliott on the pitch. If you aren’t familiar with this stat, it is the number of goals for and against Liverpool as a team with Elliott on the pitch.
Liverpool have scored five goals with Elliott on the field and conceded just one – which is all they’ve allowed in the league. In addition, Liverpool average 2.5 points per match with Elliott in the team.
Elliott’s brilliance led to him appearing in Liverpool’s opening four matches of the Premier League season. Three of those games saw him start the game, while playing a full 90 minutes in two of those matches.
The teenager, who doesn’t turn 19 until next April, was like a new transfer signing after the exit of Georginio Wijnaldum in the summer.
Even with Elliott’s injury, Liverpool have the likes of Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and James Milner to step into the midfield. The problem is: can the three find the form Elliott showed?
Unfortunately, Elliott is the future of Liverpool’s midfield and must now fight to recover the form he previously showed once healed.