It was perhaps a night to forget for Liverpool’s youngsters on Tuesday, whose valiant efforts were not enough to avoid a drubbing at the hands of Aston Villa.
Though as the Premier League leaders fielded a youthful XI with the senior contingent taking part in the Club World Cup in Qatar, there were still those who stood out – including 16-year-old Harvey Elliott, who caught the eye of Andy Townsend during the match at Villa Park.
Speaking on BBC 5 Live, Townsend highlighted the style of the young winger, likening his abilities to that of Chris Waddle as Elliott emerged as a particular bright spark.
He said: “I like Harvey Elliott. I’ve watched him a few times. He’s always drifting in on that left foot – you know he’s going to do it, but you can’t stop him. Chris Waddle, for years, was so good on that [right] side in that position.
“That young man has got great feet and great poise when he receives the ball, and his first touch is always perfect. I really like him.”
Despite his tender age and the situation facing Liverpool’s squad this week, Elliott was far from an unknown quantity having made appearances in the two previous rounds for the Reds in the EFL Cup.
Elliott has also occasionally been named among the substitutes in the Premier League, including in the recent win over Bournemouth.
That suggests he is above some of the other youngsters in the Liverpool side – five of whom were making their club debuts at Villa Park.
In turn, Townsend’s comments are therefore no real surprise, though they do nevertheless continue to be suggestive of the potentially bright future that Elliott could have at Liverpool.
Indeed, Elliott stood out on Tuesday night as one of Liverpool’s top performers (according to WhoScored), with a match-high total of five key passes and a pass success rate only topped amongst the visitors’ starting XI by fellow Reds newbie Sepp van den Berg, who joined the Reds around a month prior to Elliott’s arrival from Fulham in the summer.
All this points towards the promise that Elliott holds, which could see him become a potential heir to a place among Liverpool’s famed front three.
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