Harvey Elliott has reflected on his new role in the team at Liverpool, while admitting he was occasionally 'caught out' in midfield last season.
Signed as a 16-year-old from Fulham back in 2019, Elliott – a boyhood Red – has grown into an established first-team player at Anfield, with 80 appearances to his name so far.
After suffering a serious ankle injury in 2021, the young midfielder bounced back to play 46 times during the 2022/23 season and was often a bright spark for Jurgen Klopp's side during a disappointing campaign.
Though he has featured in 14 games already in 2023/24, only six of those have come as starts (just one in the Premier League), and Elliott has had to settle for reduced game time amid Liverpool's midfield revamp.
In spite of this, the youngster has often impressed from the bench, grabbing a late assist in Sunday's 1-1 draw with Luton.
Speaking to 90min, Elliott admitted the added competition for places has helped him to make the most out of his opportunities.
"I've kind of had a different role this season," he said. "Last season, I was starting a fair few games. Obviously, we've signed new players, got big quality around the team. I've kind of had to approach it from a different perspective.
"For me, it's just making sure I'm ready, I'm watching the game, and then the minute I come on, I know how the team is playing, I know how the opposition are. It's just about me trying to come on, affect the game in the best possible way. So far, it's kind of worked."
"You look on the bench and see the quality on the bench, it's like, 'Right, I can't slack in my performance, I need to stay on top and make the most of it'."
The 20-year-old who broke through as a winger also revealed how he has used the lessons learned during the struggles of the 2022/23 season to improve his game defensively in the centre of the park.
"I wouldn't say it was hard [to learn a new position], because I got all the confidence and the backing from the manager and coaching staff," Elliott said.
"Obviously it's a new position so it's just about knowing where I need to be positionally, but football-wise, it's just playing the game. It's why you're in a team, why you're good at the sport. It's just about making sure I do both sides of the game.
"I feel like last year especially I learned a lot throughout the season and I feel like I've taken it into this season and I feel a lot better and comfortable in those positions.
"Defensively, last year I was in the wrong positions sometimes and I'd get caught out. Obviously I'm not the biggest compared to any of the other lads so I need to kind of give myself the extra little advantage. I feel like, this season, it's something I've been working on off the pitch as well, trying to analyse games and see where I need to be."
Elliott, who broke the record for the youngest ever Premier League player back in 2019, also added that he has no ambitions to change clubs again and hopes to remain at Anfield for the rest of his career.
"I would love to [stay at Liverpool forever]," he said. "It's my place to be. It feels like my home now and I want to be here for the rest of my career."