After questions over whether Liverpool could recall Harvey Elliott from his loan spell with Blackburn, there is no option to bring the in-form forward back this January.
Elliott has been in excellent form since joining Rovers on a season-long loan back in October, with four goals and six assists in 19 appearances for the Championship club so far.
The 17-year-old is statistically one of the most creative players in the English second tier, with Norwich‘s Emi Buendia the only player (10 or more appearances) to average more key passes per 90.
No Blackburn player has registered more assists, while only striker Adam Armstrong – the Championship’s leading goalscorer, with 16 – has found the back of the net more often.
Given the long-term injury to Diogo Jota and question marks over the productivity of Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi, Elliott’s performances for Rovers have led to calls for an early return to Anfield this month.
However, This Is Anfield understands that there is no recall clause in Liverpool’s deal with Blackburn, and the plan is therefore for the teenager to stay at Ewood Park until June.
Manager Tony Mowbray is at least hopeful that there will be no approach from the Reds regarding a break in their agreement, despite there being no official option for the Premier League champions stipulated in the contract.
It would arguably be the wrong call, either way, given the progress Elliott is making in Lancashire, steeling the youngster for a potential role at Liverpool next season.
Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri could well depart in the summer, and the flexibility of the Reds’ No. 67 – which has seen him play out wide and in midfield for Blackburn this season – could make him a useful player for Klopp in 2021/22.
His inclusion would build on the strong development of other academy youngsters such as Curtis Jones, Neco Williams, Caoimhin Kelleher and Rhys Williams as part of the first-team setup at Liverpool.
While the circumstances of a campaign amid a global pandemic has tied Klopp’s hands to an extent, the manager has been clearly committed to bringing through young players regardless, with Billy Koumetio, Leighton Clarkson and Jake Cain also benefiting.
Liverpool are still yet to finalise the compensation fee to be paid to Fulham following Elliott’s free transfer in 2019, with the clubs significantly distanced when it comes to their valuations.
Look out for the full lowdown on Elliott’s time at Blackburn so far on This Is Anfield on Monday.