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Liverpool: Elliott can boost World Cup chances by dominating Spurs

Liverpool come into their match with Tottenham Hotspur today fearful that yet another defeat in the Premier League could take them firmly into the division’s midfield.

They are eighth at the moment and their hopes of securing European football next term are dwindling. Jurgen Klopp’s men haven’t won their last two domestic matches, with the concession of goals a real problem.

Indeed, the Reds have shipped 15 times, with the vast majority of those coming early in matches too.

Spurs showed against Marseille in midweek that they aren’t always too willing to be expansive in big games, so perhaps that could play to Klopp’s advantage.

However, they will have to take on Antonio Conte’s side without the injured James Milner, someone who has enjoyed a renaissance period at the top level this term. He shone at right back against Manchester City in that surprise win and has even played in midfield again throughout 2022/23.

It is perhaps damning of Liverpool’s midfield depth, though, with injuries running rife throughout that particular area of the squad.

One player who has benefitted from this is Harvey Elliott, with the teenager perhaps staking a late claim to be in Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad.

England are hardly swamped with options in that area of the pitch either, with Elliott’s Liverpool teammate, Jordan Henderson, struggling for fitness this term and Kalvin Phillips only set to return from a spell on the sidelines in the forthcoming week.

A good performance against Tottenham, therefore, could put him firmly in Southgate’s crosshairs.

The 19-year-old is a wonderful technician and has shown as much this term, with the midfielder scoring twice in the Champions League.

Although he has contributed to just a solitary goal in the Premier League this term, it is surely only a matter of time before the youngster finds the net more often.

He has bounced back tremendously from a horrendous injury at the start of last season to become a key figure in this Liverpool team.

Fascinatingly, he ranks in the top 9% of players in his position across Europe’s top five leagues for shot-creating actions per 90 while he’s also in the best 13% for progressive passes. That shows just how creative Elliott is, with his eye for a pass and ability to pick up spaces in dangerous areas something that sets him apart from other options Klopp has.

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Indeed, the very fact he ranks in the top 13% as well for progressive passes received shows how well he can pick up those pockets of space between the lines.

However, it’s not a flashy number 10 that he’s been mentioned in the same breath as, with Andy Brassell comparing him to David Beckham when he first arrived at Real Madrid.

Speaking on talkSPORT, the European football expert once said: “The fact that Harvey Elliott stands out now, of course it’s a lot to do with his excellent form, but it’s also because he reminds me of David Beckham playing in the midfield of the melted Galacticos in 2003/04.

“He’s just so much faster than everyone else. Beckham was like a flying ant in a forest of sloths really.

“Not knocking the quality of the players around him, but no one did anywhere near as much running as him in that season.”

The term ‘flying ant’ could easily be applied to Elliott, who has been running the show in the middle of the park, acting as a fresh pair of legs compared to his elder colleagues.

Indeed, Henderson, Thiago Alcantara, Milner and Fabinho are all 29 and above, demonstrating that the young England hopeful is very much the future of Liverpool’s midfield.

With that in mind, the club’s German tactician must continue to turn to the former Fulham man, with his very own ‘flying ant in a forest of sloths’ possessing the tools to unlock Liverpool on Sunday evening.

Article title: Liverpool: Elliott can boost World Cup chances by dominating Spurs

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