Joe Cole suggests Liverpool already have a young player even better than Thiago Alcantara.
Harvey Elliott is the player Jurgen Klopp expected when he signed Thiago Alcantara for Liverpool.
Former Reds forward Joe Cole believes this. Cole told BT Sport before Liverpool’s game against Bournemouth today that Elliott possesses all of the qualities that Klopp sought in Thiago.
“When Thiago came in, Jurgen Klopp was clearly thinking, ‘I’m going to try and bring some quality, someone who can do what Harvey does, run in behind sometimes, not all the time, get on the ball, and be good in tight areas.'” “I believe Harvey is developing into the player that Jurgen Klopp expected Thiago to be,” the pundit said.
Thiago is fantastic in his own right, but I think Jurgen Klopp’s even been surprised at the development of him [Elliott] and how quickly his improvement’s going in that trajectory.”
Elliott is the only player to feature in every game for Liverpool this season. 39 and counting. With this in mind, Cole believes an England call-up isn’t too far way for the 19-year-old.
“England gets announced next week, he won’t be far off it. He’s playing regularly for Liverpool,” he said.
On the surface, this sounds like the kind of hyperbole we’ve become used to from pundits discussing young English talents.
Bur to be fair to Cole, he might be onto something. That isn’t to say that Elliott is better than Thiago – he isn’t. But in terms of the profile of player, they’re not a million miles from each other.
Up to the point that Thiago was signed, Liverpool’s midfield was characterised by workman-like players. Jordan Henderson, Fabinho and Gini Wijnaldum is still the blueprint for the perfect middle of the pitch for Klopp’s Reds. By signing the Spaniard from Bayern Munich in 2020, the boss was obviously trying to add something different.
Despite some similarities, Thiago and Elliott are not the same player. Harvey is generally more forward-thinking and more likely to pop up with goals and assists. Meanwhile the Spaniard is an archetypal deep-lying playmaker. But they’re clearly a sea-change from the likes of Wijnaldum and Henderson, too.
So, maybe what Cole means is that Elliott is merely adding that differentiation that Klopp was looking for. We’d still argue that Thiago has added that just fine, thank you very much. But it’s great to see Harvey earning praise for some excellent recent displays.
REDA MORE: Wout Weghorst speaks out on Anfield sign controversy.
Losing 7-0 to your arch rivals is something no fan ever wants to experience, but we quickly got over it with a bit of perspective. Manchester United already have a trophy under their belt and are on course to finish in the top four.
On top of that, we’re still in the FA Cup and Europa League. All signs that we’ve come a long way since last season.
The Liverpool defeat should at least end any title race conversation for another couple of weeks. That will allow us to focus on more achievable objectives.
As for Weghorst, he’s still trying to explain himself.
Weghorst was spotted touching the ‘This is Anfield’ sign in the tunnel, as pictured above. A gesture usually reserved for Liverpool for Liverpool fans as their own players even refrain from doing it until they have won a trophy.
Some fans got a bit excited about it – some going over-the-top with their reactions, but I don’t think it was a good move from the Dutch striker.
Weghorst has already issued a statement about touching the sign on social media, but he has added further explanation as to why he touched it. Speaking to Football Focus, he said (via Manchester Evening News):
“Of course, I know Virgil from the national team and we are quite good [friends]. With the [pre-match] handshake he was already starting the match and he was a little bit like…I can say ‘cool’, I think. And so we just in a coincidence walked [out of the tunnel] next to each other, he was a little bit in front of me and I remember he’s always touching [the Anfield sign].
“I was trying to touch his hand from behind and trying to ignore him a little bit. I said to him ‘not today, I know your rituals but it’s not working today’. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. But it was actually the only meaning I had, the only intention I had. Of course, I saw later on, we had a free day, I saw the messages from Liverpool fans, that I’ve touched it to shield myself. Normally I don’t respond on anything about this but just because the fans from United are amazing, they have been really amazing with me and for me also, I just wanted to clarify that.”
Hopefully Weghorst can make amends by scoring more goals between now and the end of the season.