Harvey Elliott was Klopp’s unsung hero vs Crystal Palace.
Liverpool hosted Crystal Palace in their first Premier League game of the season at Anfield last night, and the game did not disappoint in terms of twists and turns.
The Reds picked up their second point of the season, moving up to 12th place in the league table ahead of one of the most anticipated games of the season against Manchester United at Old Trafford next Monday.
Jurgen Klopp’s team included a number of surprises, including Nat Phillips starting in a center-back partnership with Virgil van Dijk and Darwin Nunez making his Anfield debut in a red shirt.
Despite having 73% possession, Liverpool only had four shots on target out of 24 total shots, and that statistic translated onto the field, with the team failing to take all three points.
Darwin Nunez was sent off after delivering a headbutt to Joachim Andersen in front of referee Paul Tierney, who immediately gave the 22-year-old striker his marching orders. Liverpool were reduced to ten men in the 57th minute, while still looking for an equalizer to match Crystal Palace.
Fortunately, just four minutes later, Luis Diaz came to the rescue with a stunning strike that finally found the back of the net, bringing his team back into the game, but it wasn’t just the Columbian who stood out in a tight game for the Merseysiders on Monday evening.
Harvey Elliott was the midfielder of choice to start in the team following Thiago Alcantara’s injury alongside Fabinho and James Milner on the right side of the three. A surprise pick, he became Klopp’s unsung hero proving he could really be the solution to Liverpool’s midfield concerns over the coming fixtures.
The young talent was hailed a “class act” by sport journalist Joseph McBride, for his performance last night and it’s not hard to see why as Elliott was integral in holding together the midfield over the course of the game.
The 19-year-old took 74 touches of the ball but only lost possession seven times. He also made two key passes, five tackles, two interceptions and completed 100% of his dribble attempts. A 90% pass completion rate over his 79-minute performance also proved just how effective he can be in both attacking and defensive play.
The Liverpool Echo were complimentary of his showing too, with reporter Ian Doyle handing him an 8/10 in his player ratings, saying: “Great energy in chasing down and blocking passes and a real danger when in possession himself. Very encouraging but tired a bit in final quarter.”
As a result of this encouraging performance from the youngster, it wouldn’t be surprising if he is seen again in the starting line-up at Old Trafford next week as Klopp attempts to navigate his team in the right direction in their upcoming fixtures to secure Liverpool their first win of the season.
With that being said, the transfer window remains open for Klopp and the powers at Anfield to take advantage of. They now need to decide whether they want to add a new midfielder or stick by their rising star.