Arne Slot must UNLEASH Harvey Elliott - he's ready to become a Liverpool star

There are points in some footballers' careers where they make the jump from promising youngster to genuine star.

We've seen it with so Liverpool players down the years, with Steven Gerrard suddenly becoming a bona fide key man in his early 20s, having shown glimpses of brilliance initially.

That sensational long-range strike at home to Manchester United in 2001 felt like a big moment in his career, and he never looked back, growing into a world-class talent who may never have been bettered at Anfield.

On Sunday, it was hard not to draw comparisons with that moment and Harvey Elliott's sensational effort against Tottenham, as the boyhood Liverpool fan did what we all dream of doing - bending one into the top corner of the Kop net.

It was just reward for a Man of the Match performance from the 21-year-old, who was an exquisite combination of technical class and relentless work rate throughout the afternoon.

This has been a breakthrough season for Elliott, who has rarely been a leading man at any point during the campaign, but has still seen his reputation skyrocket across a total of 51 appearances.

Only Darwin Nunez (52) has featured in more matches in all competitions, going to show just how much Jurgen Klopp has trusted him.

The Englishman has been comfortably Liverpool's most effective substitute, so often coming on against tired legs and making a huge difference with his guile and energy.

Elliott's last-gasp winner away to Crystal Palace back in December was perhaps his most telling contribution of 2023/24, but there have been so many other instances of him changing a game in the Reds' favour, adding a spark when they had run out of ideas.

Granted, his performances from the start haven't always been as convincing, with but the likes of Wataru Endo, Dominik Szoboszlai and Curtis Jones flagging as the campaign has gone on, Elliott is ending the season as one of Liverpool's most in-form players.

Elliott ending season on a high note

In 2024, only Kevin De Bruyne (14) and Rodri (nine) have registered more assists than Elliott's eight, in all competitions, which is testament to the influence he has had. Four assists apiece in the Premier League and Europa League is an impressive return, with a quadruple of goals also coming his way.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but Klopp may just look back on this season and feel that he should have used his diminutive midfielder from the start more often, especially with form and tiredness affecting other figures.

Predicting the future is so hard, especially with the arrival of Arne Slot heralding a new era at Liverpool this summer, but it does feel as though Elliott has found another gear and is ready to become one of the Reds' most important players moving forward.

Picking a perfect position for him is tricky, considering he lacks the blistering pace to be as effective as Mohamed Salah in a right-sided attacking role, and arguably the dynamism to be a midfield colossus, but there are signs of his physicality improving.

Let's not forget that he is still only 21, and even against Spurs, he did look bulkier than he has in the past, suggesting that extra time in the gym could be paying off.

There is a reason why Liverpool signed Elliott as a teenager, and why he has been considered an incredible talent for so long, and it will be fascinating to see how Slot uses him. He will surely be a fan of his many different attributes.

The Dutchman often deploys a 4-2-3-1 formation, which means the England Under-21 international could be perfect for the No.10 role, allowing him to wreak creative havoc behind the striker.

There will be huge competition, of course - Szoboszlai could also excel in that position, among others - but the strides that Elliott has made over the past 12 months are so exciting.

Such is his experience across 117 Liverpool appearances now, it it easy to forget how young he still is - Jarell Quansah is older than him, which doesn't seem possible - and he is becoming an increasingly polished and influential footballer by the week.

Elliott has the talent to become a star

Comparing any player to Gerrard is dangerous, and it is highly unlikely that Elliott will ever reach the Liverpool legend's unrivalled heights, but he does feel in a similar position to him at the age of 21.

There will still be poor performances and moments that show he needs to mature further, but next season feels like the one where he could be ready to explode, assuming he can avoid injury.

Euro 2024 is likely to come too soon for him at international level, but similarly, Gareth Southgate must surely see him as part of his future plans.

Elliott has all the natural talent to become a genuine Liverpool star over time - if Slot can get the best out of him while he fine-tunes his game at the same time, we could be in for something special.

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