Harvey Elliott proves again that he is Sadio Mane’s heir apparent at Liverpool

Many of you scoffed when Liverpool splashed out £34million on Sadio Mane back in 2016, didn’t you? 

It’s okay, we’re all friends here. After all, 2016 was a crazy time. A time when spending over £30million on a player was a huge investment, rather than the common occurrence it has become today.

Whether or not Mane has justified his price tag is not even a debate anymore. The bigger question is now who replaces him once he moves on?

Life without Mane at Anfield is something that Liverpool fans won’t even want to contemplate. The Senegalese winger has become a legend on Merseyside, his goals and industry playing a huge part in their return to the summit of English and European football over the past four years.

At 28, he still has plenty more to offer Liverpool. But there is no denying that he is at an age where the question of, what happens next? begins to float around the Kop and social media.

His unique combination of tireless running, positional intelligence and consistent quality on the ball is something that does not appear too often to scouts when hunting for new arrivals.

On this occasion, however, Jurgen Klopp can afford to give Liverpool’s headhunters some time off. Mane’s heir apparent looks like he is already part of the Reds’ setup.

In July 2019 Liverpool announced the signing of 16-year-old Harvey Elliott, a versatile attacking talent who had graduated from Fulham’s academy.

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Harvey Elliott

READ: 11 quotes on Liverpool hot prospect Harvey Elliott: ‘A special talent’

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A couple of months later, he became the club’s youngest ever player to start a competitive match, lining up against MK Dons in the League Cup.

The first true test of his credentials came at the start of the 2020-21 season when he was loaned out to Blackburn Rovers in order to gain first-team experience.

Many doubted how the youngster would cope with the rough and tumble of the intense Championship schedule, but under Tony Mowbray’s guidance, Elliott has continued to go from strength to strength.

A stunning goal against Millwall, curling a first-time shot into the top corner on the counter-attack, is his most eye-catching contribution so far, but his midweek display against Bristol City perhaps gave Liverpool fans most cause for excitement.

Despite losing 1-0 to the Robins, the now 17-year-old stamped his mark all over the game. He may have started on the right-wing but Elliott was not tethered to the role, dropping deep when necessary to collect the ball and spring Rovers forward.

Tenacious when out of possession and cool and composed on it, there was plenty of Mane-like qualities on display at Ashton Gate.

It was not just his physical abilities that impressed either. The devastation caused by the Liverpool attack is built on a necessity to know exactly what you’re teammates are going to do; where they are going to run, where they are going to pass.

From watching the highlights of Elliott’s game, he has that awareness in abundance. On more than one occasion he collected the ball and instantly played a perfect through ball to either Adam Armstrong or Sam Gallagher.

It’s the sort of service you can really see Diogo Jota thriving off for years to come, isn’t it?

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