Harvey Elliott scored an outstanding solo goal as Blackburn fell to a 2-1 defeat to Norwich on Saturday, leaving Rovers fans fearing a January return to Liverpool.
It didn’t take long for Elliott to find his feet at Blackburn, having made a surprise loan move to Ewood Park at the end of the extended summer transfer window.
Two games in, he scored one and assisted another in a 4-0 thrashing of Coventry, and the 17-year-old has remained a consistent threat since, becoming a first-choice starter for Tony Mowbray.
While he has been deployed in a number of roles of late, including on the left, as a No. 10 and even deputising up front during games, Elliott’s primary position has been on the right flank.
After creating six chances for his team-mates from the left in a 1-0 loss at Bristol City in midweek, the youngster returned to the right for Saturday’s visit of Norwich.
— Sky Bet Championship (@SkyBetChamp) December 13, 2020
There, Elliott shone again, cancelling out Teemu Pukki’s opener with a stunning strike on the hour mark, picking up the ball out wide and evading Jacob Sorensen to charge towards goal.
In the box, he nutmegged Norwich centre-back Grant Hanley before firing a left-footed effort through Michael McGovern and in to level the scores.
It was a moment of magic, cruelly counting for nothing as Pukki scored the winner for Norwich six minutes later, and it drew considerable praise from Blackburn supporters, with some speculating over a possible mid-season loan recall:
— George Nelson (@GeeNelsss) December 12, 2020
Harvey Elliott’s first touch needs its own museum.
— Mike Delap (@MikeyDelap) December 12, 2020
Not exactly gone according to plan for him, though.
— Dean Jones (@DeanJones_) December 12, 2020
— Luke (@brfcIuke) December 12, 2020
It is unclear whether there is a recall option in Liverpool’s deal with Rovers, but in the wake of Diogo Jota‘s knee injury – with reports in Portugal suggesting the forward could miss two months – it is an interesting scenario.
However, it is one that Jurgen Klopp is unlikely to consider, particularly given how well Elliott is performing at Ewood Park.
So far this season, only five players have created more chances in the Championship than the teenager (30), with every player to have done so playing at least 100 minutes more, and as many as 561 (or over six full games).
Of those to play at least 1,000 minutes, only Norwich’s Emi Buendia (3.4) is averaging more chances created per 90 than Elliott (2.5), while the Liverpool loanee is averaging the fourth-most interceptions per 90 of any forward (0.7).
In simpler terms, Elliott has scored three and assisted four in 13 appearances for Rovers so far, averaging a goal contribution every 151.3 minutes – or just over one every game-and-a-half.
Next season, though, is another matter entirely.