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Jürgen Klopp should consider Harvey Elliott swap as two Liverpool midfield fixes are clear

Liverpool’s midfield has once again come under scrutiny, with Harvey Elliott not working in the way Jürgen Klopp might have hoped just yet. But there is a fix.


Jürgen Klopp has rather committed himself to changing the structure of the Liverpool midfield. Harvey Elliott is playing there at the moment but he is not the only one in a similar mould.


Fábio Carvalho appears to be a number 10 who, for now, plays wide left but could become a number eight, Curtis Jones came before him on a similar path, and Bobby Clark is an emerging talent who has similar tendencies.


The idea is to evolve the Liverpool midfield into something that fans had craved when it consisted of the ‘functional’ Gini Wijnaldum, Fabinho and Jordan Henderson, with their ‘own Kevin De Bruyne’ lacking.


Elliott, though, has drawn criticism for his performances at times this season. That is unfair on the teenager, and not just because of his age. He has played a lot more football than he should have, and has been asked to do a lot more adapting than should have been the case.


Elliott is a creative outlet who has a lot of skill and ability to break down defences, but he is being asked to do that and more as a number eight, where helping out Trent Alexander-Arnold — another who prefers to be going forwards — is vital.


Liverpool’s midfield has been exposed time and time again this season with gaps appearing and players like Elliott unable to do the same sort of work that Wijnaldum did.


Their primary function is as more attacking stars, however, so that should come as no surprise. Additionally, Fabinho and Henderson are no longer able to physically get through as much work as before.


If  Elliott was in a Liverpool team where the other 11 players were performing perfectly at their peak, there would be no issue. But he is not, and so the defensive elements are shown up more than anything else.


There does, though, appear to be a short-term fix. With attacking shortages, perhaps it would make more sense for Elliott to play in the forward line for a spell, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain more than capable of playing as a number eight.


Oxlade-Chamberlain has his own limitations, of course, but is a much more experienced player and has played as a number eight for Klopp successfully in the past.


Then there is Naby Keïta, who largely impressed against Brentford when he came on in the second half, until he gave the ball away far too easily for the third goal.


Elliott could then play on the right, with Mohamed Salah central and Darwin Núñez left, or from the left, where he has spent some time in small parts over the last couple of weeks.


Neither of those solutions are ideal, but without having added to their midfield last summer, that is the position that Liverpool have left themselves in — one of the knock-on impacts of investing when they needed to.


Both of those players would appear to be more sensible, short-term fixes. Even if Elliott’s long-term future lies in the centre of the pitch, letting him develop elsewhere first would seem like a good move where he could avoid being the scapegoat.


Klopp does have not loads of players available at the moment but that does not mean that there are not enough options to avoid Elliott being in a position he can’t show his best skills.



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