Liverpool’s Harvey Elliott knows he must be patient to shed ‘super-sub’ tag

By Sports Desk December 13, 2023

Liverpool youngster Harvey Elliott wants to shed his ‘super-sub’ tag as quickly as possible but knows he will have to be patient as he tries to break into an established midfield.

The 20-year-old came off the bench to score a stoppage-time winner at Crystal Palace at the weekend – not the first time he has made an impact with an energetic substitute appearance.

However, the summer overhaul which brought in World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister, Hungary captain Dominik Szoboszlai and Ryan Gravenberch after a season at Bayern Munich means most of Elliott’s starts have been restricted to minor competitions like the Europa League.

He will get another chance in the dead rubber against Union Saint-Gilloise in Brussels and accepts the more pitch time he gets the more he can build towards his goal of becoming a regular starter.

“I don’t really want to be known as a super-sub,” said Elliott, who was looking like becoming an established starter for manager Jurgen Klopp until an horrific dislocation fracture of his ankle in September 2021 which sidelined him for four months.

“It’s a great headline but at the same time I want to be in the team.

“It’s time for myself to establish myself in that position again and hopefully get a good run of games but, at the same time, I need to be patient as well and maybe be the super-sub as well.”

Klopp had some sympathy for the youngster but absolutely no doubt in his talent.

“What we forget sometimes is that Harvey is still super young but has played an incredible amount of games already and before his serious injury he was the best player we had available,” Klopp said.

“It took him a while to get back up to speed again but with his skill-set he should be super influential but a player like him needs the finishes as well, the shot and the last pass, and the last game was a sign of how good this boy can be.”

Although only 20, Elliott is considered one of the senior players in the squad in Belgium as more than half are aged 21 and under, with the average age of the travelling party just short of 22.

With Liverpool already qualified as group winners, Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah have all been left at home with Manchester United on Sunday in mind.

Also missing is Mac Allister, whose knee injury sustained against Sheffield United last week is causing slightly more issues than expected, while centre-back Joel Matip underwent surgery on Thursday on his ACL injury which is likely to rule him out for the rest of the season.

“They (medical staff) have explained it to me every single day why he is not ready yet and it’s a bit more tricky than we thought,” added Klopp.

“The stud went through the muscle pretty much to the bone so now we have to wait until the bone is healed and until Macca can deal with the pain. We have to make sure there is no infection and nothing happens.

“I’ve never had this injury with one of my players before but now we have it and I hope it will not take that long to heal.

“I would like to say it is day by day but then it looks like he could be ready for the next game but they say he will not be ready for that. I hope the next three or four days he makes big steps and we will see.”

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