Harvey Elliott during Carabao Cup Final

Harvey Elliott: The Premier League’s Dark Horse

Harvey Elliott is one of the best young midfielders in the Premier League, and barely anyone talks about it.

While that statement will no doubt cause people to raise their eyebrows—not Ancelotti style—or scoff at what they believe is such a ludicrous idea, there is data to back this up. The young Englishman has been sensational for Liverpool, and if it weren’t for the club being stacked when it came to right central midfielders, his minutes would likely be higher.

Unfortunately for Elliott, Dominik Szoboszlai, Ryan Gravenberch, and even Cody Gakpo have all been preferred to him at different points. This is likely due to their taller and more physical stature.

However, right now, his talents and abilities are quietly going under the radar. He is slowly becoming a dark horse. Harvey Elliott should be talked about more. He should be on Gareth Southgate’s mind, and here is why.

The Data

The “eye test” can be deceiving. Oftentimes, we watch games, and our biases take over. We are looking for what we already perceive to be true. While this form of “analysis” is usually what starts our opinions on football, you need the data to back up your point, and we have it, courtesy of Data MB.

Many will look at Harvey Elliott and judge him to be small and weak. Terrible at contesting duels. Not great at winning back the ball. Well, the truth is, statistics paint an entirely different story.

Liverpool’s right central midfielder has a lot of work to do. It is a hybrid of a No. 10 and a No. 8. This position is vital in the Reds attacks and equally important in defensive duties. This player needs to be both great at winning the ball and creating attacking opportunities.

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Throughout this season, Elliott has had a 66% success rate in defensive duels. Of course, defensive duties are not Elliott’s main role, but when compared to the success rates of Rodri (58%) and Declan Rice (67%), it is clear the 20-year-old can hold his own in the middle of the pitch. And if you want to say he contests fewer, well, you would be wrong. He contests more defensive duels than both players.

  • Defensive duels per 90
    • Harvey Elliott – 6.11
    • Rodri – 5.43
    • Declan Rice – 4.48

In terms of attacking influence, Harvey Elliott is in a world of his own. No midfielder in the league comes close to the youngster for key passes per 90. Elliott has an average of 1.2 every 90 minutes, with the closest to him being Martin Ødegaard who has 0.96.

Additionally, the former Fulham prospect ranks in the top 5 for xA per 90. Bruno Fernandes matches his 0.26 xA, and Andreas Pereira (0.27), Pascal Groß (0.3), and James Maddison (0.31) are the only ones better.

Furthermore, he places third for successful attacking actions per 90 with a total of 3.82. James Maddison (5.02) and Eberechi Eze (5.53) were the only people to beat his numbers.

The truth is, with numbers like this, why is the football world not paying attention? He can hold his own defensively, and he is incredibly influential in the final third. We suspect it’s time for Elliott to get his due praise.

A Vital Cog in the Klopp Machine

In the absence of Mohamed Salah, Elliot’s ability to play on the right has been essential for Liverpool to keep up their hopes of a historic quadruple. In their last three games, the midfielder has played a total of 288 minutes out of a possible 300.

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Despite just being 20 years old, Harvey Elliott has been around this side for a long time. Make no mistake: Elliott was not among the “Klopp Kids” when Gary Neville coined the phrase during the Carabao Cup final. Forget his age. He is a senior member of the team.

He is a fully-fledged and essential cog in the ever-turning Jürgen Klopp wheel. Keep an eye out on him for the rest of the season. There is no doubt he will play a pivotal role in any other success the club finds this year.

In the meantime, Gareth Southgate, get him on the England plane for the next international break!

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