At one point it looked as though a three-horse race was developing for the Premier League title, but after a challenging winter period, a large gap has opened up between Manchester City and the chasing pack. Liverpool are one of the sides who have let their standards slip somewhat in recent weeks, allowing Pep Guardiola’s side to streak clear at the summit of the table.
With a combination of injuries, Covid-19 cases, and players leaving for the Africa Cup of Nations, Liverpool find themselves at a crossroads. The extent of their coronavirus-related absentees is such that the League Cup semi-final first leg against Arsenal had to be rearranged, with more postponements likely to follow. And after losing to Leicester City in a drab performance at the King Power Stadium, before surrendering a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, it’s been a miserable couple of weeks for Liverpool and their supporters.
One bright spark that lies on the horizon is the upcoming return of Harvey Elliott to full training. The young midfielder suffered a nasty broken-dislocated ankle in the match against Leeds United back in September, and has been sidelined ever since. The 18-year-old has made good progress in his recovery though, and it could only be a matter of weeks before we see him pull on that red shirt again and hopefully pick up where he left off.
It’s easy to forget just how impressive Elliott was in the early matches of Liverpool’s season. From the moment he was named in the starting 11 for the opening game of the campaign against Norwich City, you knew just how much Klopp trusted the young man. A quality display saw him maintain his place in the team for the following games against Burnley and Chelsea, before the injury against Leeds threw a spanner in the works.
Elliott brought energy to Liverpool’s attacks, and his quick feet and trickery made him a real menace for opposition midfielders. Simply put, Liverpool’s opponents did not know enough about him to have formed a plan on how to stop him, and that made him something of an ace in the pack. His range of passing, which went unappreciated, and low centre of gravity means he is adept at skipping past players and driving forward with intent — the ideal creator for the likes of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané and Diogo Jota.
All of the above are qualities that Liverpool have been sorely missing over this winter period, as performances have stagnated and the ruthless efficiency in attack of earlier this season has waned. It will be a huge boost when Elliott does return to the fold, and Liverpool supporters will be desperately hoping that he can get back up to speed quickly and help improve the team’s odds on https://www.betdaq.com/.
The midfield has been something of a problem area for Jürgen Klopp this season. Injuries have struck various players at different points in the campaign, whilst inconsistent form from the likes of Naby Keïta and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain means there isn’t a lot of quality in reserve. The return of Elliott will serve as a much-needed boon, even if it is only for the last couple of months of the season.
Elliott is primarily one for the future as opposed to Liverpool’s saviour for the present, but there’s no denying that he is one of the most exciting young talents the club have had in a while, and he’ll get a huge roar at Anfield when he does finally return to action.
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