SOUVENIR PROGRAMME

How Harvey ‘super-sub’ Elliott has set fresh example for others to follow

Harvey Elliott‘s introduction at half time against Burnley may have been an enforced one, but he changed the game, and Liverpool will need that again this season.

The super-sub tag is not one Elliott will hope to see stick around for too long, but he has proven it is a title he can live up to.

With the game poised at 1-1 and key creator Trent Alexander-Arnold off the pitch at half-time, Liverpool needed to find quality and composure, and Elliott delivered.

Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez have the 20-year-old to thank for their latest goals, teeing up the pair with aplomb on the right wing – you could not have asked for more.

When it comes to influence off the bench, you want finishers and Elliott duly delivered.

 

Turning the tide

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 10, 2024: Liverpool's Darwin Núñez celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Burnley FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-1. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jurgen Klopp‘s game management has been almost immaculate this season – Arsenal aside – and his changes have contributed to an incredible number of goal contributions off the bench.

In fact, Elliott’s assist – he’s only been awarded one for Nunez’s header – was the 34th goal to be created or scored by a player coming off the bench.

That makes up 26.9 percent of all Liverpool’s goals and assists this season, talk about game-changing.

For Elliott, his 45 minutes at Burnley was not the first time he’s flipped a game on its head from the bench – away at Wolves and Crystal Palace are prime examples – but it was a fresh reminder of what will be needed for the rest of this season.

The Reds will need their full squad as they compete across four competitions, and with injuries and illness complicating matters, it only amplifies the significance of this endeavour being one for the entire team, not just 11-14 players.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 10, 2024: Liverpool's Harvey Elliott (R) and Burnley's Han-Noah Massengo during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Burnley FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-1. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Elliott has not kept his desire to be in the XI over a substitute a secret, but it is his attitude towards coming off the bench that allows moments like those against Burnley to be possible.

“I want to be starting and that’s my goal,” he told LFCTV after Saturday’s win. “I want to get back in the team and kind of cement my spot.

“But I’m just more than happy getting on the pitch first and foremost, whether it’s off the bench or starting, I’m just happy to put the shirt on and go out and play, especially at Anfield.

“It’s down to me to try to make a difference; that’s why I’m coming on, that’s kind of my role in the team, that’s why I’m here [after the win].”

 

A lesson for what’s to come

2WHJ53R Liverpool's Harvey Elliott gives the thumbs up signs during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Burnley, at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, England, Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

It is an interesting position Elliott finds himself in as he has made valuable contributions off the bench, but Klopp has been resistant to naming him in his starting lineups.

Only 15 of his 32 appearances have been as part of the XI, and only three have been in the Premier League, and that perhaps comes from the difficulty of finding a place for him in the side.

He’s predominantly been used as a right midfielder or on the right wing when Mohamed Salah is absent, and while he has potential in abundance, neither position has consistently clicked.

Coming off the bench allows him to utilise his fresh legs against the tiring ones of the opposition, though, he can drive at them and this is where he can thrive and prove a vital figure for his manager.

It sets the tone for the remaining weeks and months, both for Elliott on a personal level and for the squad as a whole.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 10, 2024: Liverpool's substitutes Bobby Clark, James McConnell and Kostas Tsimikas prepare to come on during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Burnley FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

If Liverpool are to bid Klopp farewell with silverware, they will need to continue to maximise the full potential of the squad as, unfortunately, not every match can be smooth sailing.

It would, of course, be easier on our hearts and our sanity if games were wrapped up quickly, but we know that not to be the case, it’s why Elliott’s role at Anfield was a significant one.

A super-sub he may wish not to be for the long-term, but it is a tag that just might lead Liverpool to glory when the curtain falls on this season.

Question is, who else will join him?