Why Liverpool need to be careful in nurturing a talent like Harvey Elliott
Cast your mind back to November 2016. Liverpool were facing Leeds United in the League Cup with a place in the semi-final on the line.
Jurgen Klopp put out an experimental side, with Lucas Leiva as a centre-back, Ovie Ejaria in the midfield and a sprightly Trent Alexander-Arnold starting as the right-back.
Divock Origi might have opened the scoring but it was Ben Woodburn who stole the headlines.
The then 17-year-old found the back of the net and became the youngest scorer in our history.
Last night, that record could have been broken as Harvey Elliot hit the crossbar twice. The former Fulham star was one of the highlights in our 2-0 win over MK Dons and seems set for a bright future.
Woodburn was hyped up by the media, with the Guardian claiming that he was one of the ‘10 players to watch in 2017’.
The Wales international was handed several chances to impress but it seemed the push was a little too early for him.
Cut to the present, and Woodburn is trying to revive his career at Oxford United. The 19-year-old has spent time at Sheffield United but isn’t close to the first-team at Liverpool.
That is always the fear when it comes to young players and Klopp tried to play down Woodburn’s goal back in 2016 (h/t Guardian):
“I’m really happy for him but the problem is I’m also a little bit afraid.
please. Only write ‘goalscorer Ben Woodburn’. That’s quite a challenge!”
Elliott is the youngest Liverpool player to start for the senior side, and given his performances so far, Klopp and the team have to nurture and mould the Englishman.
Elliot is not the only one with a bright future
The team put out by Klopp featured lots of experience mixed well with young talent.
Curtis Jones looked impressive out wide and linked up well with James Milner. Ki-Jana Hoever scored in the win over the Dons while Rhian Brewster was unlucky not to find the back of the net.
Another striking aspect of the win was how we played. Even with the youngsters in the side, the tempo, style and game plan matched that of the first-team.
That should bode well for us this season as some of the youngsters could replace our first-team stars and not feel out of place.
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Klopp has done well nurturing young talent before – Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold, and with the experience of handling Woodburn in the past, our latest set of starlets have a bright future ahead.