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2FMCN27 Ewood Park, Blackburn, Lancashire, UK. 8th May, 2021. English Football League Championship Football, Blackburn Rovers versus Birmingham City; Harvey Elliott of Blackburn Rovers celebrates after scoring to give his side a 4-2 lead after 83 minutes Credit: Action Plus Sports/Alamy Live News

Harvey Elliott given hero’s reception after belated return to Blackburn

Harvey Elliott scored seven goals and laid on 11 assists during his time on loan at Blackburn, but never played in front of their fans. But Monday night made up for that.

Elliott enjoyed a breakthrough campaign at Ewood Park last time out, with his performances over 42 games for Rovers giving him the platform to step up to the Liverpool first team.

But it came in strange circumstances, playing almost the entire season behind closed doors, only once performing in front of fans – that being 2,000 in a 2-2 draw at Brentford.

With restrictions easing across the UK and Elliott now back fit after a lengthy rehabilitation for an ankle injury, Monday gave the teenager an opportunity to return to Blackburn.

Though it was not exactly how manager Tony Mowbray – who was eager to retain Elliott beyond 2020/21 – would have hoped, the midfielder’s reception before the 1-0 win over Middlesbrough showed the fans’ appreciation for his efforts.

The 18-year-old made a lap of the pitch, before signing shirts and posing for photographs, then heading down the tunnel and shaking the hand of every Blackburn player waiting to head out.

A short Q&A took place in the club’s hospitality lounge, with Elliott greeting supporters as he watched a victory that pushed Rovers up to second.

It was an appearance Elliott was not obliged to make, particularly with Liverpool given a week off during a break in fixtures, and it shows his mentality as a young player.

Elliott’s time at Blackburn was invaluable, as it prepared him to take the leap as a regular starter under Jurgen Klopp, before his four-month layoff.

He is now back fit and in full training, with Klopp revealing that he will come back into contention as soon as the FA Cup fourth-round tie at home to Cardiff on February 6.

Last season, Elliott set on a goal in Blackburn’s 2-2 draw with Cardiff, a game that also saw Harry Wilson assist twice while still on loan from Liverpool.