Exclusive - Harvey Elliott has returned to Liverpool ahead of the 2021/22 season, with the teenage sensation who caused a storm in the Championship on loan at Blackburn, declaring himself ‘more than ready’ to take on the Premier League.
Elliott is used to doing things young, having arrived at Liverpool from Fulham where he was the youngest player ever to make a Premier League appearance, aged just 16 years and 30 days.
The attacker made eight appearances in all competitions for the Reds as they lifted the Premier League title last season. The experience was a dream come true for the Surrey-born teenager, who grew up supporting Liverpool and idolising Steven Gerrard - thanks to his Anfield season ticket-holding dad.
Elliott was then loaned out to Blackburn for 2020/21 and became one of the breakout stars of the English second division, registering seven goals and 11 assists in the league.
The 18-year-old's efforts saw him nominated for the EFL Young Player of the Year award, which was eventually won by Reading's Michael Olise.
Speaking to 90min Elliott admitted it was nice to be recognised for an outstanding campaign.
“It was an honour [to be nominated for EFL Young Player of the Year]," he said. “I’m thankful for everyone that voted for me. It’s the fans at Blackburn and Liverpool that have kept me going.”
Earmarked by many as a future Liverpool star, Elliott revealed what Jurgen Klopp told him before he left for Blackburn last summer, and how the Liverpool manager challenged him to prove himself at senior level.
“He said ‘Look, just go out and show everyone who you are,” Elliott said. “Go and get these minutes. All of us will support you 100%’.
"He said, ‘Just go and play your way. Go and express yourself.’ It made me feel a lot better. Not that I was worried or scared to go out on loan, but it was just sort of the thought of what was going to happen when I came back to Liverpool.
“He said, ‘This will set your future up. Come back, work extra hard and show me that you’re ready.’”
Now back at Liverpool, with the Championship season having concluded, Elliott also commented on just how tough Liverpool training can be - with the first-team's rondo drills particularly intense.
“When we do the rondos, you don’t want to be in the middle, because you probably won’t come out,” he said.
“It just shows what Liverpool is about. Just having that determination and hunger and passion in every single training session, and taking it into the game. It’s just the quality we have.
“We have to ramp the passes up to 30 - that keeps you in, because it’s just too easy for everyone, and even then you’ll struggle to get the ball!
“Training at Liverpool is hard, but it’s a good hard. It gets you fired up for the games and it shows what passion and determination there is at the club.”
Despite the competition in training and the strength of the squad, Elliott is confident that he is ‘more than ready’ to make his mark on the Premier League, and is hoping to become a ‘go-to’ player for Klopp at Liverpool in 2021/22.
“I feel more than ready,” Elliott said. “Going off this season, getting the minutes and knowing that I’m able to keep myself fit and healthy. I think if I’m able to do it now, I’m able to do it every season.
“My main goal is to get into the team. Then either, to sustain my spot in the team or, if I’m on the bench, then to be the 'go-to' person that they look at to come on and change the game.
“I just want to have an effect on the team, create and score goals and work hard.”
Having been registered for Blackburn this season, Elliott has not been eligible for Liverpool’s matchday squads since his return. However, that has not stopped him celebrating the club’s victories as they chase down a Champions League spot - starting with Alisson’s miraculous winner against West Brom on Sunday.
Elliott joked: “I’m surprised we haven’t had a noise complaint yet, because the house did erupt!
“For Alisson to get the winning goal. You can see his emotion at the end, with everything he’s been through.
“He’s a top guy, as well as a top keeper, and just to have the heart and the desire to carry on playing, training and then pop up with the winner… I’m so happy and I’m so proud to watch him do that, and I’m sure his family are proud.”
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