‘Special’ Elliott could replace Salah as one of Liverpool’s next-generation faces, says Carragher

The former Reds defender believes we are seeing the start of a new era at Anfield, with a number of young players arriving

Former Liverpool player Jamie Carragher says he sees Harvey Elliott as a “special” player who could one day replace Mohamed Salah as he ushers in a new era alongside Diogo Jota and new signing Luis Diaz.

Elliott recently returned to the Liverpool squad after suffering a catastrophic knee injury earlier in the season, marking his first appearance since the injury with an FA Cup goal.

Long touted as one of the brightest young talents in English football, Elliott will now have the chance to earn a regular role at Liverpool, with Carragher supporting him to one day be a legitimate star presence for his former club.

Elliott signed for Liverpool in 2019 from Fulham.

He played 15 times for the Reds in all competitions, having spent the 2020-21 season on loan at Blackburn.

Carragher believes that next year, Elliott will begin to get involved in Jurgen Klopp’s plans, adding that the coach will have to find a way to give the teenager the playing time he needs to really reach his potential.

It makes you think Liverpool have a special player, not just a good player,” Carragher told GOAL.

“You think about how young he is and you think about the players we had at that age who were really special: Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler, Raheem Sterling, you saw Trent stand out at that age. just special.

“It will be very interesting to see how Jurgen Klopp fits him in and gives him enough games between now and the end of the season and also if that will have an impact on Liverpool’s business in the summer.”

The biggest deal Liverpool are dealing with right now is Mohamed Salah’s contract, as the Egyptian star is heading into the final year of his contract.

And Carragher says he believes Elliott could be Salah’s long-term replacement on the wing, as Liverpool may not need to spend a hefty transfer fee to bring in a new version of the Egyptian.

“You have someone really special here, maybe in terms of replacing Mo Salah, if that’s the position he plays in.

“Mo Salah is approaching 30 now and we are all desperate for him to sign a contract, but whenever Mo Salah leaves, maybe you have his replacement ready. with the left foot.

“Maybe he is more creative or maybe he scores less goals, who knows, but he is definitely a special player and in the next 18 months he will have to find a position for him in the team because players of that quality have to play.”

Elliott isn’t the only player to impress in recent weeks, as new signing Luis Diaz has had a strong start to life at Anfield.

Klopp praised Diaz after seeing the £50m ($68m) signing make his Premier League debut, saying “he looks like a Liverpool player” despite having only played two games for the club so far.

Diaz also impressed Carragher, with the former Liverpool defender recalling how he would judge new signings during his time with the team.

“It will be interesting to see how quickly Klopp integrates Diaz fully into the team,” said Carragher. “I’m sure he’ll have his minutes but you want to make a good start and I think most of the time when I was a player we judged players very early on with how you saw them in training and how they came. through.

“Most of the time when you see a top player you either see him very early or you see the signs. I think if you bring in a new player and you don’t see much early on or anything to get excited about I think that’s a problem Going forward. Even if you don’t hit the ground 100%, there are still some telltale signs that a player has something and Diaz is doing it now.”

Carragher also recalled some players who may not have started well at Anfield, with the possibility that Diaz might need time to adjust to life in the Premier League.

The Colombia international is unlikely to take down Salah or Sadio Mane right away and may need patience at times, but Carragher says he remembers how patience paid off with some of his most successful teammates.

“Some players got off to a slow start at Liverpool,” he said. “Didi Hamann was one and became one of the best midfielders in world football. He was possibly one.

“Momo Sissoko, when he first came on, found it difficult, but then he became a real pillar of the team with Xabi Alonso in central midfield. There weren’t many to be fair.

“Most of the time, the big foreign players that come into the league are usually the ones that start running and you can immediately see that they are a special player, so it’s always nice to have that.”

A new generation?

Carragher believes players like Elliott, Jota and Diaz can help usher in the next generation of Liverpool, which will inevitably need to rebuild in the years to come.

With several stars approaching their 30s, the Reds have already begun their preparations for the future, opting to gradually bring in replacements to initially serve as replacements before taking the reins for themselves.

“This team is evolving,” said Carragher, who is expected to be part of CBS Sports and Paramount+’s Champions League coverage in the US this week.

“You see that with Jota coming in, [Ibrahima] Konate behind, [Kostas] Tsimikas pushing [Andrew] Robertson, Diaz is 25 years old. The team has been evolving over the last 18 months. The average age of the team is getting knocked down because a lot of that team has been together for four or five years.

“They’re not aging. They’re all in the prime of their careers, but that can change very quickly. In 12 to 18 months, these players will be on the wrong side of 30.

“I think Liverpool did a good deal, and there is talk of bringing Carvalho from Fulham as well, another young player and I hope another young man will also come in the summer.

“There haven’t been any drastic changes, but they’ve integrated the players slowly, so it seems like you don’t notice as much that there’s a changing of the guard. the team. Jota took a while to get on the team, Konate is just pushing [Joel] Matip, I’m sure Diaz will do the same with Mane. Who knows how long it takes, but before long they’ll step forward.

“Liverpool did it in a way that it doesn’t feel like they did, but when you look at the deal they’ve done, it’s really lowered the age and at 18 months I feel like we’ll be looking at another team.”

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