As Liverpool edge closer to the new Premier League season, journalist Theo Squires has made a bold prediction in regards to who could start for the Reds on matchday one.
Both Thiago Alcantara and Jordan Henderson featured late into this summer’s Euro 2020 finals, and so are a little behind on their pre-season preparations compared to the players who didn’t feature at the tournament.
With this in mind, Squires claimed that Harvey Elliott has a reasonable chance of starting the first game of the season – as do both Naby Keita and James Milner – in place of Thiago or Henderson.
Talking on the Blood Red: Liverpool FC YouTube channel, he explained: “That’s what you want, to see these encouraging performances from an Elliott or from a Naby Keita, because you wouldn’t be surprised if one of them did get that chance against Norwich at the expense of Henderson or Thiago.
“Because it is two players who might not be at the same levels as the others – they’ve had a full pre-season, they’re looking good, they’re looking sharp.
“Sometimes you want to reward that. It’s one of the reasons why the midfield has actually stayed unchanged, hasn’t it? That has been the first midfield trio, the first-choice, throughout pre-season: Elliott, Milner and Naby Keita.”
Squires went on to add: “It’s a completely new position for Harvey Elliott, but he’s shown he can do it; he’s just so confident on the ball.”
TIF Thoughts on Harvey Elliott and Liverpool…
After finishing a long way behind Manchester City last season, Jurgen Klopp will likely be looking at ways to improve his current squad – but without too many key signings arriving on Merseyside, an internal solution like Elliott could perhaps be on the cards.
The 18-year-old impressed out on loan at Blackburn Rovers last season, registering seven goals and 11 assists in the Championship (via Transfermarkt).
However, both Thiago and Henderson look set for more game time ahead of the new season, so it remains to be seen whether or not Elliott will get his chance.
But judging by Squires’ take on the youngster’s return to the Reds first team in pre-season, he may well be able to work his way into Klopp’s plans at some point this coming season, if not from the start.