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I would be shocked if one of Klopp’s absolute favourites plays against Ajax after huge Napoli mistake

The 19-year-old is quite clearly one of Jurgen Klopp’s favourite players and it’s not difficult to see why.


It was clear when he was at Fulham and it’s clear now. Elliott has exceptional agility, close control and link-up play and is able to slalom past defenders, making him a talented playmaker.


He’s not particularly fast but he makes up for it with his passing and vision.


But a major drawback of Elliott’s playing in midfield is that beyond pressing and counter-pressing, he doesn’t offer much in the way of defence.


Jurgen Klopp suffered one of his worst ever European defeats as his side was comfortably beaten 4-1 by Napoli.


With Saturday’s Premier League game against Wolves postponed, Liverpool’s next match is another Champions League fixture.


Ajax travel to Anfield for the second game of the group stages after beating Rangers 4-0 which they followed with another major this time in the Eredivisie, dispatching Heerenveen 5-0 on Saturday.


Fortunately, Klopp has had extra recovery and rest as well as preparation time and will not have to travel either so if we don’t see a fresh and energetic display, the Reds will come under even more scrutiny.


Harvey Elliott is guilty of turning off in defensive situations

Elliott was guity of another very disappointing Champions League performance.

Last season, he was hooked after 60 minutes against Inter Milan after a disjointed and naive display.


The teenager was in the early stages of his injury comeback trail so he shouldn’t be too heavily criticised but there are comparisons to be drawn between that one and his display against Napoli.

Failure to track Calhanogou almost proved costly

Elliott went to sleep in the 15th minute of win over Inter (0:23) and allowed Hakan Calhanoglou, a dangerous man inside and outside the box, to ghost into the 18-yard area before he struck a powerful shot off the underside of the crossbar.


Harvey Elliott poor positioning
In this frame, you can see that Elliott is not tracking the run of Calhangolou

It could have been a costly error in the grandscheme of the tie as it ended 2-1 on aggregate and it’s the type of pattern of play that top clubs pick up on and aim to exploit.

Elliott made the same mistake against Napoli and he was punished this time. The post almost saved his blushes the way it did with the Calhanoglou chance but Anguissa’s shot squeezed in at the front post.

The play started with poor ball rentention from Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez (4:38 on YouTube).

Trent decided to head the ball back instead of play it the way he was facing to Fabinho.

Trent header back to Gomez
In this frame you can see Kvaratskhelia already begin to press Gomez, anticipating the weak header from Trent.

The ball reached Gomez, who comitted the first major mistake in this sequence as he decided to turn instead of play the ball back to Alisson.

It was a carinal sin from the defender as he played right into Napoli’s hands.

The Englishman was hounded by Kvicha Kvaratskhelia and his high-press paid off as he nipped infront of Gomez, stealing the ball and starting an important turnover in a dangerous area for the Naples outfit.

Liverpool are now dangerously exposed.

Joe Gomez gives possession away
Gomez loses the ball after making a major error in judgement to try and play out of trouble

At this stage, Liverpool are already at a three-to-two disadvantage as Napoli begin to surge forward.

When Anguissa picks the ball up here, a few things needed to happen that didn’t.


Anguissa plans attack on Liverpool
Liverpool are back in shape but their reactions are too slow and Anguissa breaks through

Firstly, Liverpool dropped into a makeshift back four with van Dijk covering Victor Osimhen, James Milner drops into LCB, Fabinho covers Gomez at RCB as he’s moved to right back to cover Trent Alexander-Arnold.

The Scouser was caught in transition which is not his fault as it was Gomez who squandered possession.

But at this point, Harvey Elliott, Trent and Robert Firmino are the players in midfield and they did not react well at all.

Failure to track Anguissa led to second Napoli goal

Elliott, for all his tecnhical prowess and playmaking abilities, was very poor at defending against Anguissa.

He doesn’t defend the run at all and allows the Cameroonian who plays a simple one-two with Piotr Zielinski before finishing coolly past Alisson.

Harvey Elliott makes mistake
Elliott needed to track his run or at least do more to block the passing lane to Piotr Zielinski.

Liverpool are up against Ajax next and will need to be wary of a side that is historically very good at moving the ball around the box.

More worryingly, their late midfield runs into the box could hurt a team like the Reds that struggle to track late runs.

Liverpool are playing at home and need to make sure they use their home advantage to make sure they get their first win of the Champions League season.

Jurgen Klopp has some major team decisions to make and with Thiago back, we may see a much-needded reshuffle in the middle of the park.

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