Two Liverpool stars who rarely see action were cited in a pertinent Harvey Elliott warning after common transfer claims were dismissed by a pundit.
In stark contrast to their title rivals, Liverpool kept their transfer powder dry this summer. Despite splashing out £36m on French centre-half Ibrahima Konate, the Reds wound up generating a small profit after sanctioning a plethora of fringe stars’ exits.
That led to rumblings among the fanbase over owners FSG’s perceived lack of investment. A replacement for reliable Dutchman Georginio Wijnaldum had been speculated after his free agent exit to PSG.
Furthermore, an addition to the forward ranks had been speculated to offset Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane’s looming absences during the 2021 AFCON.
However, Konate remained Liverpool’s only new arrival, and former winger and BT Sport pundit Steve McManaman has explained why Liverpool didn’t need to do more.
“I wasn’t particularly bothered, to be honest,” McManaman told the Liverpool Echo. “This thing about needing to replace Gini Wijnaldum – I don’t think Liverpool did.
“We have Thiago, we have Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, we have Naby Keita, Curtis Jones, Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, James Milner… how many midfielders do you want?
“And then there is Harvey Elliott, who has come into the team and looks a star in the making. There are enough midfielders to cover the three spots.
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“People wanted a forward, and we’ve got four and only three play. I get the fact that last year we had so many injuries that people wanted more and more players.
“I think if you looked at the squad in the first few games of the season, we had a strong bench and a number of players who weren’t even there. We have enough, you just don’t want to be decimated by injuries again.
“Konate is a good young player, and the club have let people go to balance the books. Considering there has been a pandemic and the club has lost a lot of money – we will only really know how much when the next accounts are published – I don’t have any problem with it.”
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Rising youngster Elliott has already shown he is more than capable of cutting it at elite level. The 18-year-old has impressed in each of their first three matches and has shown versatility having been deployed in a midfield role.
A strong season filled with regular action is anticipated for Elliott. However, McManaman urged Liverpool fans to show patience when the starlet inevitably has an off-day.
Fellow youngsters Neco Williams and Rhys Williams are two Reds players who received fierce criticism and abuse after sub-par showings. In Neco’s case, the right-back temporarily deleted his social media accounts in 2020 to avoid further abuse.
McManaman said: “You could see straight away [Elliott] was a talented boy. I watched him a lot at the academy in that first season.
“Going to Blackburn on loan was a really good move for him. The way Tony Mowbray played him was great and he got a lot of games.
“His touch is excellent and the more he plays the better he will become. People just need to be patient as there will be times when he has a bad game.
“People can’t go crazy at him when that happens. We have heard the stories about Neco Williams and Rhys Williams getting all kinds of abuse.
“You have to careful with these players, give them time, let them settle in and let them find their feet.
“Manchester United bought Jadon Sancho for £73million and Liverpool have got Harvey Elliott. You can’t get carried away with just keeping on buying players.
“If Liverpool feel as though they have somebody there in the academy who is good enough and has had a really good summer training with the first team, you have to trust the people in control of Liverpool – and the manager.”