Jhon Duran's dramatic late double earned Aston Villa a thrilling 3-3 draw with Liverpool at Villa Park, but the hosts will still have to wait before they can be sure of sealing a top-four Premier League finish.

Duran came off the bench to score in the 85th and 88th minutes to help Villa avoid what had looked set to be a fourth straight defeat in all competitions.

Emiliano Martinez's own goal gifted Liverpool the lead two minutes in on Monday and Cody Gakpo restored that advantage for the visitors after Youri Tielemans had Unai Emery’s side level.

It looked like Jarell Quansah's first goal for the Reds early in the second half had sealed the victory, but Duran’s late intervention ensured Villa emerged from the game with a valuable point.

Villa remain in fourth place, now five points clear of Tottenham, their rivals for a Champions League spot. Spurs have a game in hand but must beat title-chasing Manchester City on Tuesday to take the battle to the final day. Liverpool stay third on 79 points.

Emery’s men found themselves behind just 61 seconds into the game with a moment to forget for Martinez as he failed to hold onto Harvey Elliott’s cross, letting it roll over the line.

Despite Liverpool’s bright start, Villa equalised against the run of play – Ollie Watkins pulled it back to Tielemans, who drilled a first-time shot into the bottom-left corner.

Gakpo restored the Reds’ lead in the 23rd minute, meeting Joe Gomez’s low cross to fire into an empty net, with the on-field decision confirmed after a VAR review for an offside in the build-up.

Diego Carlos should have dragged Villa level again before the break, but with an open net to aim for at close range, he could only guide his shot wide of the far post.

Liverpool started the second half brightly, with Quansah netting his first goal for the club with a towering, unmarked header into the top-left corner before offside decisions denied both sides more goals.

Watkins thought he had scored his 20th Premier League goal of the season when he guided it past Alisson, but it was disallowed following a VAR review as Leon Bailey set off too early in the build-up.

Minutes later, Elliott skipped in front of Mohamed Salah to poke Luis Diaz’s cross past a stranded Martinez, but the flag was up against the Colombian.

Duran’s introduction flipped the momentum back in Villa’s favour, as the substitute scored twice in three minutes to salvage a draw – he drilled the first into the bottom-corner after dispossessing Alexis Mac Allister before perhaps fortuitously flicking Moussa Diaby’s pass over Alisson and into the net.

Home comforts for Villa

Villa knew a win here would confirm fourth spot and Champions League football, and while they did not quite achieve that, this was a small and significant step towards securing it.

Though they were not helped by Martinez's mistake in the second minute, with the goalkeeper scoring the earliest own goal since Antolin Alcaraz (54 seconds) for Everton against Southampton in April 2014, Villa kept fighting to get a result.

The Villans are now unbeaten in their final home game of the season in each of the last five campaigns since their promotion back to the top-flight in 2019, winning three and drawing two. They have Duran to thank for that record extending, and they will now watch Spurs’ match against City with great interest.

Quick starts boost Reds

In Jurgen Klopp's penultimate game in charge of Liverpool, his side showed signs of their free-scoring best once more.

Quansah's header was the 140th goal across all competitions for Liverpool this season - it is their second-highest scoring campaign in the club's history after 2021-22 (147).

They made bright starts to both halves and were rewarded with goals inside the opening three minutes each time to put themselves in control.

However, another defensive lapse at the back, similar to the one they had against Tottenham, ultimately cost them two points. The Reds finish their season at home to Wolves on Sunday.

Jurgen Klopp has promised his Liverpool players will show a reaction to their shock 3-0 Europa League home defeat to Atalanta when they host Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Sunday.

Liverpool’s hopes of ending Klopp’s reign with a showpiece European final in Dublin are in real jeopardy after Atalanta punished a lacklustre display to inflict the Reds’ first home defeat in 14 months.

The second leg of the quarter-final tie will be played in Bergamo next week, but before then Liverpool’s attention returns to the intense three-way fight at the top of the Premier League, and a match against Oliver Glasner’s Palace side.

Asked how he could ensure there would be no hangover from Thursday’s result going into Sunday, Klopp said: “First and foremost, I cannot ensure that, never could. But still, it’s the job I have to do.

“I don’t think it was a general low point but performance-wise it was a low point. But the really good thing about a really bad performance is you can play better. Start from there.

“This must feel bad and it does, so let the boys take it home, sleep on it and then come together and recover and go from there.

“On Saturday we will start preparing for Crystal Palace. We have to show a reaction, definitely, 100 per cent clear, but I cannot plan the reaction (straight) after the game…But we will show a reaction, I can promise.”

Klopp made six changes for Thursday’s game, with Joe Gomez, Ibrahima Konate, Kostas Tsimikas, Harvey Elliott, Cody Gakpo and Curtis Jones all coming into the side.

It was a first start since February for Jones, who has made two substitute appearances since injury, while Diogo Jota came off the bench for his first appearance of any kind in almost two months.

Long-term absentees Stefan Bajcetic and Trent Alexander-Arnold were among the substitutes, although Klopp said there was “no chance” of Alexander-Arnold ever playing and he had only been named in the squad because UEFA regulations allow him to select up to 23 players.

With no let up in the schedule and Liverpool still fighting on two fronts, Klopp is eager to get his squad back up to full fitness.

“There is no pressure (to manage the injured players’ returns), that’s just the situation,” he said.

“My job isn’t the easiest job in the world but it’s not the most difficult. But it’s about the players, you need to make sure you get them on the pitch and then it works out somehow.

“We’ve played different line-ups and played really good football and (on Thursday) we didn’t and that’s the reason we lost. That can be the headline. It didn’t work out and that’s absolutely fine and right.

“But we need them all and we need them all aggressive, fit, going for it, a bit angry and full of desire and not so much dealing with your own situation, ‘I need rhythm, I didn’t play for ages’ – try to avoid that.”

Jurgen Klopp called Thursday’s 3-0 home defeat to Atalanta a “low point” in Liverpool’s season as their Europa League hopes were left hanging by a thread.

Liverpool looked flat throughout the quarter-final first leg and ended the night perhaps fortunate Atalanta had not taken one of the many late chances they had to add to a lead given to them by Gianluca Scamacca’s brace and a late Mario Pasalic goal.

Harvey Elliott hit the post in the first half and Mo Salah had a goal ruled out for offside in the second, but Liverpool lacked the spark needed to beat a well-organised Atalanta side, who will be confident of finishing the job next Thursday in Bergamo.

Before Klopp can think about that match, he must lift his players for Sunday’s visit of Crystal Palace in the tight battle at the top of the Premier League table.

“It was a really bad game, oh my God,” Klopp said after Liverpool’s first home defeat in nearly 14 months.

“We started well, really well and then didn’t continue. They broke, they scored and we just lost the plot a little bit. We were here and there in midfield, I didn’t recognise it.

“It was really strange but in football terms it was tactical discipline. There was a big chance for Darwin (Nunez) and then it was unlucky with Harvey, but they scored and we kept playing into their hands.

“We played a bad game and we we deserved to lose. We must feel that now but we have exactly this night to feel bad about it and then we have to build up for Palace.”

Klopp made six changes to his side following Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Manchester United, but his bid to freshen up the side failed, and their chances of ending the German’s reign with a showpiece final in Dublin have taken a huge hit.

“I believe it’s not the moment to talk about that,” Klopp said when asked if the tie was still alive. “I’m not in the mood to think about the game in a week’s time when we have another in between.

“Definitely we have to try, we want to win the game but now is not the moment to have a big mouth. We have to play a really good game.

“Where we are, this is probably a low point for us performance-wise so it should be possible to play a little bit better and we can play a lot better. But first and foremost it’s about Sunday now.”

The final whistle brought huge celebrations for Atalanta and their travelling fans. Gian Piero Gasperini said he wanted to enjoy the moment, but warned the job is only half done.

“Tonight was amazing,” he said through a translator. “I didn’t make any changes until 10 minutes to go and the only one change because it is hard to touch something about a team that held until the 90th minute in the best way.

“Such a victory, it’s OK to celebrate but we all know we ill have to conquer everything in seven days’ time in Bergamo because Liverpool is a really strong team and they can score goals quickly.

“We will have to play another very precise game in every aspect and repeat tonight’s game because everything remains to be played. But our advantage makes us hope for the best.”

Lacklustre Liverpool were stunned 3-0 by Atalanta in a Europa League quarter-final collapse that could prove to be Jurgen Klopp’s last European night at Anfield.

This competition offers the chance to bring the curtain down on his German’s reign with a European trophy on May 22, but their hopes of making the Dublin showpiece are in jeopardy.

Liverpool lacked creativity and coherence in the first leg of a quarter-final that Atalanta are in complete control of heading back to Bergamo thanks to Gianluca Scamacca’s brace and a late Mario Pasalic goal.

It represented the Reds’ first Anfield loss since falling to Real Madrid last February and compounded the Premier League hopefuls’ potentially costly 2-2 draw at bitter rivals Manchester United on Sunday.

Harvey Elliott had hit the woodwork before Scamacca’s first-half shot squirmed past Caoimhin Kelleher, who was beaten again by the former West Ham striker after Liverpool had started the second half brightly.

Livid Klopp bellowed and waved his arms as he called on fans to lift the flat Anfield atmosphere, but this was Atalanta’s night and Pasalic wrapped up an unforgettable triumph for the visitors.

The warning signs had been there for Liverpool from the start.

Elliott appeared to be fouled but Atalanta were allowed to continue forward in the third minute, with the ball eventually falling for Pasalic to take a shot from six yards that Kelleher saved with his face.

Liverpool reacted with Darwin Nunez bursting through to test Juan Musso before Alexis Mac Allister lashed over as an open start continued.

Atalanta looked up for the fight, producing some lovely free-flowing moves, but the Reds were finding gaps, with Nunez scooping wide poorly when slipped through.

A lull in play was followed by a stunning Elliott effort from wide on the right of the box, with his curling strike clipping the underside of the bar and hitting the far post.

A similar, albeit more wayward, attempt by Curtis Jones followed before Atalanta silenced Anfield in the 38th minute.

Davide Zappacosta, the marauding former Chelsea defender, sent in a low cross for Scamacca to hit a first-time shot that squirmed past Kelleher in front of the flagless Kop.

Gian Piero Gasperini’s men kept up the pressure before half-time and should have grabbed a second in stoppage time.

Marten de Roon won possession at the halfway line, leading to unmarshalled Teun Koopmeiners being sent through to be blocked by onrushing Kelleher.

There were some groans at the break, from which Liverpool returned with Mohamed Salah, Andrew Robertson and Dominik Szoboszlai.

The introductions brought an initial improvement and, after Virgil van Dijk headed over from a corner, Salah was blocked by De Roon before then being stopped by Musso.

Nunez lifted over and saw an unorthodox header caught as Liverpool continued to knock at the door, only to be hit by Atalanta again in the 61st minute.

An all too simple pass down the right to Charles De Ketelaere caught Liverpool napping, with Ibrahima Konate and Joe Gomez leaving Scamacca free in the middle to score with a measured first-time finish.

Atalanta were nearly celebrating a third just four minutes later but Koopmeiners could only strike across the face of goal.

Liverpool looked lost as they tried to pull one back, with their celebrations at reducing the deficit in the 79th minute shortlived as Salah strayed offside from Robertson’s pass.

Just four minutes later the mood darkened further as Szoboszlai’s mistake allowed Atalanta to break, with Scamacca slipping in Ederson to see a shot saved and Pasalic follow up in front of the away fans, leaving Liverpool a mountain to climb.

Harvey Elliott still believes Liverpool can end Jurgen Klopp’s final campaign with the Premier League crown despite ceding control of the title race by slipping up at rivals Manchester United.

The Reds had control of a mammoth three-way title tussle after Manchester City and Arsenal fought out a forgettable goalless draw last weekend, but the dynamics changed at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Liverpool salvaged a 2-2 draw through Mohamed Salah’s spot-kick having failed to capitalise on their early dominance, with Luis Diaz’s effort all they had to show before Bruno Fernandes and Kobbie Mainoo stunners.

“Jurgen’s cracking up” echoed around Old Trafford after a result that put Arsenal in the driving seat with seven matches remaining.


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Liverpool are level with them on 71 points but have a substantially worse goal difference, yet Elliott remains confident that they can end Klopp’s reign with his second Premier League title.

“We can’t be thinking about other teams and watching what they are doing and basing our games off them,” he said.

“We need to keep being selfish and keep getting three points on the board.

“We are in the best possible position to do it, we’ve got unbelievable fans behind us that will be backing us in each and every game until the end of the season. We have the team to do it, so who says we can’t?

“We just need to keep going and keep taking it game by game, making sure we are recovered both physically and mentally and keep going.

“It will be a tough finish but we just need to keep going.”

Elliott impressed off the bench at Old Trafford, where he won the penalty that allowed Salah to salvage a point in the 84th minute.

“It should have been all three,” the substitute told Liverpool’s website. “But I think at the same time we need to look at the game, and we were trailing.

“I think the boys showed unbelievable fight and courage to come back, to stay level-headed, stay in the game and get the equaliser.

“A point is better than nothing. We wanted the three points – there’s no doubt about that – but a point is better than losing.”

It was another pulsating meeting between the rivals, just three weeks on from United winning an FA Cup classic 4-3 at the end of extra-time.

Liverpool failed to take their chances that day, just as they did on Sunday having registered 28 shots.

On not being clinical enough at key stages of the game, Elliott said: “Absolutely. We had many opportunities.

“Whether it was the final pass or the finish, it just wasn’t there for us today but unfortunately that’s football. But the fight and desire to keep going until the final whistle was amazing.

“I think as a team, as a club with the fans as well backing us, in a stadium like this when it’s not easy at all, it’s a credit to everyone involved.

“We need to keep fighting because it’s going to be a very tough run now and we need to keep going.”

Liverpool midfielder Harvey Elliott admits they cannot afford to focus too much on the multiple threats Manchester City pose or their own game plan will “go out the window”.

The two title rivals go head to head at Anfield on Sunday with Pep Guardiola’s side having hit top form with 18 wins and two draws in their last 20 matches.

Liverpool’s record over the last 19 fixtures has seen them lose just once and draw three times without, at times, coming close to playing at their best.

The attacking options City have at their disposal can be dizzying for opponents but Elliott said they will not be thinking about that.

“Look at the players and the squad depth they have, just Man City as a team are unbelievable,” said the 20-year-old.

“But it is about us not bigging it up too much. We just take it as another game, not worry about it too much, we just do what we do best, not over analyse or think about it too much

“We will play our football, the way we play as if we’re thinking about them too much then our game plan goes out the window.

“We just have to step up and make sure we’re ready from the start.”

The game will be billed as a potential title decider but Elliott has downplayed the hype.

“I don’t think we can big it up more than any other game,” he added.

“It’s a massive game, of course, but we’re a massive club as well and we just need to be thinking about ourselves.”

Considering the firepower of both sides Sunday’s game may be decided by who takes their chances.

Darwin Nunez warmed up for the tie with two goals in the midweek Europa League win over Sparta Prague, following on from his 99th-minute winner against Nottingham Forest, and represents Liverpool’s biggest threat.

“You know he has always had the skill and the quality, I think just sometimes it was a confidence thing. Now he is showing it,” said Elliott of the Uruguay international who has scored five in his last four games.

“He scored a vital, massive goal at the weekend and now he has come up with another great performance and goals in Prague.

“We are over the moon for him. He just needs to keep going, keep working hard and we will support him all of the way.

“We know what he is capable of doing, he just needs to keep doing it.

“But everyone needs to pop up with goals. It can’t just be the attackers, the midfielders need to chip in too.”

Liverpool midfielder Harvey Elliott accepts he will have to continue to push himself “to the max” as injuries threaten to derail the club’s bid for an unprecedented quadruple.

The 20-year-old played the full 120 minutes of Sunday’s Carabao Cup extra-time win over Chelsea just four days after playing the entirety of the 4-1 victory against Luton, in which he scored a 90th-minute goal and had to be hauled off the turf at the end of the game.

His previous four appearances had all been as a substitute and amounted to just 153 minutes, but with 12 first team players unavailable through injury, fringe and academy players are now finding they are having to play more significant roles.

That is likely to be the case against Sky Bet Championship high-fliers Southampton in the fifth round of the FA Cup at Anfield on Wednesday – the third of four games in 15 days.

“Digging in deep – it came off the back of 90 minutes in midweek – is what you live for. This is why you’re a footballer,” said Elliott, who collapsed to the ground in exhaustion as the rest of the team ran to celebrate Virgil van Dijk’s 118th-minute goal at Wembley.

“You need to push yourself to the max in order to get results and we did that.

“To come away with a victory is massive but we need to put it behind us, make sure we are recovered and focused on Wednesday.

“It will be another big test against Southampton as they are doing well this season and are going to cause us problems.

“I can’t wait for another game.”

Wednesday looks like a significant hurdle for Liverpool – top of the Premier League by a point and facing Sparta Prague in the Europa League – to overcome in their quest to win four trophies taking into account their injury situation and the emotional toil of the cup final just a few days ago.

Elliott insists it is up to the players to battle their way through if of they want to keep the bid on track.

“It’s going to be hard. It is just down to us. We need to put in the fight, desire and hunger and who knows at the end of the season,” he added.

Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk admits the team was probably guilty of trying too hard to compensate for the absence of a host of star players in the 4-1 victory over Luton.

Forwards Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah were the latest added to an absentee list, which had grown to 11 senior players and left manager Jurgen Klopp short of options, certainly of match-winners, as his bench comprised three defenders and four academy players.

The likes of Harvey Elliott and Cody Gakpo, and to a lesser extent Luis Diaz, all struggled up front in the first half, but four goals in an impressive second-half comeback after going behind in the 12th minute re-established a four-point advantage at the top of the Premier League.

Klopp’s side have won now 22 points from losing positions this season, more than any other team.

“First half with the very first chance (for Diaz) we could have changed the game, but we were a bit rushed in the final third,” said Van Dijk.

“Obviously the way we turned it around was credit to the boys.

“Staying calm is the most difficult thing to do, especially in the situation where we are at; everyone wants to show themselves and play their best game ever, and you have to try to stay calm and find the right solution.

“The first half was a bit rushed and that’s why we struggled a little bit in that sense. Being 1-0 down is never nice, but the way we bounced back is good to see.”

Elliott, on his 100th appearance, scored the team’s 100th goal of the season with the late fourth to end his night on a high after coming in for some vociferous criticism from the crowd.

However, Klopp – who remonstrated with a fan who appeared to target Elliott after yet another pass went astray in the first half – defended the 20-year-old.

“Top performance. And Harvey is a top player; 100 games for Liverpool FC in not the worst period of the club’s history, where you cannot afford players who (just) play the position, that’s a proper sign,” he added.

“He had not a great first half. There was a pass with Lucho (Diaz); I saw he wants to play the pass instead of maybe he can go in a one-on-one situation.

“But the reaction in the second half is the main difference, that’s the thing. That made this performance the performance and I’m so happy for him.

“I don’t lose patience in these moments, I know that it’s a challenge for young boys.

“When everything is great, they are super talents. When things don’t go well, you have to show up. And that’s what he’s learning more and more.

“And with 100 games under his belt, we all know he will definitely play another 100, 200, 300 – if you ask him, 500 – for this club.”

Liverpool midfielder Harvey Elliott admitted he was his own worst critic and would not be happy until he was providing regular goals and assists for the team.

The 20-year-old was one of the better players – particularly in the first half – of the 5-1 Carabao Cup win at home to West Ham which booked a two-legged semi-final against Fulham.

But despite having a couple of shots and taking up good positions in between the lines, he was not one of the four goalscorers on the night as that honour went to Curtis Jones (two), Dominik Szoboszlai, Cody Gakpo and Mohamed Salah.

Elliott said only a week ago he did not want to earn a reputation as a super-sub after just nine starts in 23 appearances this season but after what he felt was a less-than productive evening against the woeful Hammers, he vowed to improve.

“I’m disappointed with myself. I feel I should have scored a few goals but I am just happy the team won,” he said after helping the club secure a record 19th League Cup semi-final.

“It is all well and good doing what I did but at the end of the day my job is to score and create and I didn’t do it so it is something I need to reflect on going into the next game.

“I’m happy with myself but I’m annoyed with myself at the same time. But it’s not about who scores the goals, it is about making sure we get the job done and getting into the next round.”

On his harsh self-critique, Elliott added: “It’s just the way I’ve been brought up with my family, especially my dad who has always been critical of my performances and it is something I’ve brought along with me.

“It’s not for me to go home and beat myself up over it but something to reflect on in the next couple of days and make sure when I get these opportunities again, I take them. It is about making myself a better player.”

With a two-legged semi-final to come in January, the focus returns to the Premier League this weekend.

The visit or Arsenal on Saturday provides Jurgen Klopp’s side with the opportunity to be top of the table at Christmas.

Despite his good showing, Elliott is likely to find himself on the bench again for that game with Salah set to return.

“You can’t be upset if you don’t start. You know if you do start, you need to put in a performance to keep you in the team,” he added.

“That’s football and the joys of this team. You look at the squad depth and see the lads who didn’t play, who were out but maybe will feature at the weekend. We have massive quality.

“We need to take it game by game and can’t be thinking ahead or getting too worked up about tonight’s performances. We need to make sure we are right at the weekend.”

It may be top versus second but Elliott insisted at this stage, it was unlikely to have much bearing on the title race.

“It’s a long way to go, many games left to the end of the season,” he said.

“It’s the Premier League and you never know what’s going to happen and it could be a massive game.

“We are going in to win it and nothing else is good enough for us. We just need to make sure we get the three points.”

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.”

England Under-21 boss Lee Carsley threw down the gauntlet to Harvey Elliott after his brilliant brace.

The Liverpool midfielder scored twice as the Young Lions breezed past Northern Ireland 3-0 at Goodison Park.

Reds team-mate Tyler Morton, on loan at Hull, opened the scoring as Carsley’s men recorded a routine Euro 2025 qualifying win.

Elliott now has five goals in Group F, with England second behind Ukraine, and Carsley wants to see more of the same.

He said: “It’s important he keep scoring and assisting because he’s going to be that kind of player.

“His stats and data for us are very, very high in terms of his attacking actions around the box, the amount of chances he creates for other players but more importantly, his work rate and the way he presses the ball.

“He has to keep scoring and assisting, it’s a big part of his game. The most important thing for a lot of the players is just staying in the race.

“Making sure you keep yourself fit, making sure your attitude is in the right place and you’re trying to make yourself selectable.

“Then, when you get the opportunity, taking it. To be a young player and to play in the Premier League week in, week out is a big ask so making sure you’re putting yourself in a position to do that is a big thing.

“He’s come into camp looking really fit, really sharp. He’s doing the right things. That’s all he can do. When he’s come on for Liverpool he’s made a really good impact and I see that continuing.”

Morton opened the scoring after 31 minutes when he drilled in from the edge of the box as Northern Ireland finally buckled after a frustrating opening for the hosts.

They had to wait until five minutes after half-time for a second when Elliott curled a fine free-kick into the bottom corner from 25 yards.

The 20-year-old added a third with 10 minutes left, latching onto Morton’s pass and chipping goalkeeper Josh Clarke.

Carsley added: “You have to be patient and you have to keep probing. In the first 20 minutes I thought we were a little bit too safe.

“Once we got the first goal I thought we saw a different level.”

Liverpool’s Harvey Elliott lit up Goodison Park as England Under-21s eased past Northern Ireland.

The midfielder’s classy brace inspired the Young Lions to a comfortable 3-0 win on Tuesday.

He now has five goals in Euro 2025 qualifying while Reds team-mate Tyler Morton, on loan at Hull, opened the scoring with his first for the Under-21s.

It leaves them second Group F, three points behind Ukraine who beat Azerbaijan 1-0.

In what looks increasingly likely to be a straight shootout for the group win, the pair play each other in the penultimate game in October, and the Young Lions are in the rare position of playing catch-up.

It is clearly a chase they can achieve and, while boss Lee Carsley will say otherwise, the last game with his youngsters until March was a stroll after they dominated from the off, the gulf in class obvious.

Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite, captain on home turf, was the first to waste a decent opening when he failed to connect with Tino Livramento’s knock-back as England struggled to find an early way past the robust Northern Ireland backline, marshalled by Ruairi McConville and Michael Forbes.

Noni Madueke curled wide after 20 minutes and Jay Stansfield miscued a half-volley from Hayden Hackney’s cross but they were half-chances, rather than the Young Lions slicing through their opponents.

They continued to dominate and press, James Trafford a spectator in goal, and Elliott shot wide but the killer touch continued to elude the hosts – until Northern Ireland finally wilted under the pressure after 31 minutes.

That it came from a misplaced cross mattered little as Madueke’s centre evaded Stansfield but was only cleared to Morton on the edge of the area and the midfielder drilled low into the corner.

From there, an England victory was rarely in doubt. Without Cole Palmer and Rico Lewis, elevated to the senior squad last week, they were perhaps missing a zip centrally but Madueke and Jamie Bynoe-Gittens offered enough on the flanks.

Indeed, Chelsea’s Madueke teed up Hackney to shoot over before Elliott doubled the lead after 50 minutes.

The Liverpool man was clattered by Terry Devlin 25 yards out before exacting perfect revenge by bending a free-kick into the bottom corner.

Madueke was denied by Josh Clarke as England hunted a third and it was Elliott who found it with 10 minutes left. The 20-year-old ran onto Morton’s pass, exposing a gaping hole in the Northern Ireland midfield, and produced a fine chip to lob the onrushing Clarke.

There was still time for Elliott to hunt a hat-trick but he was thwarted by a fine Clarke save.

James McAtee’s brace inspired dominant England Under-21s to a routine 3-0 win in Serbia.

The Manchester City midfielder, on loan at Sheffield United, scored his first goals for the Young Lions.

Liverpool’s Harvey Elliott added a third early in the second half as England saw out their Euro 2025 qualifier on Saturday with minimum fuss, shrugging off last month’s rare defeat to Ukraine.

Lee Carsley’s side remain second, three points behind leaders Ukraine in Group F after their 4-0 win over Luxembourg on Friday.

England thumped Serbia 9-1 at the City Ground last month and were dominant from the start in Backa Topola.

It took just five minutes for the Young Lions to open the scoring when McAtee collected the ball on the edge of the area and his strike deflected off Mihajlo Ilic to loop over Veljko Ilic in goal.

Four minutes later Liam Delap came close to doubling the lead when he glanced Noni Madueke’s cross just wide.

But it was 2-0 after 19 minutes when McAtee received Hayden Hackney’s pass 20 yards out and drilled in, although Ilic should have done better.

England dominated the rest of the half without adding to their advantage but took just nine minutes of the second half to make it 3-0.

Elliott scored twice in the rout in Nottingham and got in on the act when he drilled into the bottom corner from 25 yards.

Striker Jay Stansfield, making his debut after a late call this week, hit the woodwork after a neat turn and strike with 13 minutes left and also went close late on.

Stansfield, on loan at Birmingham from Fulham, was denied a debut goal with three minutes remaining when he latched onto Madueke’s pass but saw his shot blocked.

Harvey Elliott has defended Jordan Henderson and believes his former Liverpool captain deserves better treatment.

Al Ettifaq midfielder Henderson was jeered during England’s 1-0 win over Australia at Wembley on Friday.

Henderson captained England, with Harry Kane rested, but was booed when he was replaced by Kalvin Phillips in the second half.

He completed a controversial switch to Al Ettifaq from Liverpool in the summer having been a vocal supporter of LGBTQ+ rights, with homosexuality illegal in Saudi Arabia, but former Anfield team-mate Elliott has backed the 33-year-old.

“It’s upsetting, Hendo is a massive inspiration, not just to myself but to many around the world,” said the Liverpool midfielder. “For what he has done for England and English football it’s not nice to see.

“It’s his decision, it’s his career. As a nation we need to get behind these players and support them. It wasn’t nice, but knowing Hendo I’m sure it hasn’t fazed him.


Henderson and Elliott played together at Liverpool (Andrew Milligan/PA)


“He’s a positive-minded player and person. He just wants to do the best for himself in his career. Everyone is behind him.”

On Friday, England boss Gareth Southgate called Henderson a role model and insisted he could not understand the negative reception.

Elliott will contact his former skipper once England duty is over, with the 20-year-old travelling to Slovakia to face Ukraine with the under-21s on Monday and Henderson preparing for the visit of Italy on Tuesday.


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“I didn’t want to make too much of a fuss about it – no-one should. It’s a few individuals who have different points of views, which is fine. I don’t think he would take it to heart too much,” said Elliott, who scored twice in the Young Lions’ 9-1 Euro 2025 qualification rout of Serbia on Thursday.

“He has been through a lot in his career and it’s just another barrier he is going to run through, I’m sure.

“We always keep in touch, when we’re here (St George’s Park) and see those guys we are always having conversations and it’s nice to have that togetherness with the seniors.

“Some of the lads, playing for the big teams here, brings everyone together. It’s nice to be around them and it gives us all a target and goal.”

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