Mohamed Salah proves Harvey Elliott could be Liverpool’s next superstar

Harvey Elliott's output at Blackburn this season has been sensational - even when compared with Liverpool star Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah proves Harvey Elliott could be Liverpool's next superstar 1
Mohamed Salah proves Harvey Elliott could be Liverpool's next superstar 4

At just 17 years old, Harvey Elliott has already done more than what most people can dream of.

Two Premier League appearances for his boyhood club Liverpool in their inaugural title-winning season while being named in their matchday squad a further 10 times in the top flight saw him rewarded with a winners medal.

Further appearances on the bench came in both the Club World Cup and Super Cup finals the last term for the teenager, enough for two more medals to be hung around his neck.

It's a set of incredible achievements but no doubt the youngster, who has made nine senior appearances for Liverpool, will be thinking that he's just getting started.

Liverpool, who studiously selected their loan players' destinations, we're impressed with Tony Mowbray's track record of honing young talent and felt Elliott would be well-placed to develop during this season.

The champions still see the youngest player to ever feature in the Premier League as an exciting talent for the future, but with avenues to the first-team more or less blocked, a loan switch was viewed as ideal for all parties - and it is easy to see why.

Elliott has flourished in the Championship this term, with manager Mowbray suggesting that "Jurgen [Klopp] might be sitting there thinking 'what's he doing out on loan? Let's get him back'."

Liverpool assistant boss Pep Lijnders, meanwhile, has since said that he "misses" the starlet but isn't surprised by his progress with Rovers and the Reds clearly understand the potential Elliott clearly possesses.

The Premier League champions already have a number of incredible attacking talents at the club who strut their stuff every time they step on to the pitch in the likes of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino while Diogo Jota has hit the ground running at Anfield.

Each one of those players strikes fear into the opposition and can turn a game in the blink of an eye, with none arguably showcasing that ability more over the last three seasons at Anfield than Salah.

And it is Salah, a left-footed player who most often applies his talent on the right of a front three, who Elliott appears to be modeling his game on by influencing matches from the same position with his dominant left boot as you can see from the heat maps below.

Mohamed Salah proves Harvey Elliott could be Liverpool's next superstar 5
Harvey Elliott heat map and main positions
Mohamed Salah heat map and main positions

As Kevin Gallacher, who won the Premier League title under Sir Kenny Dalglish in 1995 while at Blackburn, recently explained: "He is mimicking Mohamed Salah, the way that he plays has been fantastic and it's hard to believe he's only 17."

At times, Elliott has also played in a 'false nine' role at Blackburn this term, taking up a similar role to the one Roberto Firmino plays in for the Reds.

However, Salah has also played centrally for the Premier League champions and again Elliott has been compared to the Egypt international with LancsLive Blackburn Rovers reporter Jacob Crook telling the ECHO: "He is more of a Salah type number nine than a Firmino - wanting to play on the last shoulder but also dropping deep and picking up possession.

"But as soon as he has played the ball forward, he is trying to get into the box and into decisive positions, where he can capitalize.

"Elliott’s natural position is wide and he is probably most dangerous out wide, but he has proven he has the tools to make a difference in a central role."

It is easy to get carried away when such lofty comparisons are being made and it's important, therefore, to outline that in terms of output at the very highest level - Elliott is not matching Salah because of the different leagues both are playing in and the different stages of their careers.

But it is interesting to see just how an emerging 17-year-old talent is compared to a world-class international, when you look at both players' output purely in terms of numbers which will only increase when Rovers host Stoke at 3pm on Saturday and Liverpool welcome Manchester United to Anfield on Sunday.

However, so far this season at the time of writing, Elliott has played 1,562 minutes for Blackburn in the Championship and Salah has played 1,441 minutes for Liverpool in the Premier League - the duo for all intents and purposes here, then, have an almost even playing field in terms of time on the pitch to perform.

In terms of goal output, Salah far outstrips Elliott having scored 13 goals in the top flight this term compared with the teenager's four.

When it comes to assists, however, it is Elliott's turn to shine with the starlet having already set up six goals for his team-mates as opposed to Salah's two in their respective divisions.

Interestingly, when it comes to expected goals (xG) - Elliott has only been expected to score 1.99 times this term but has managed managed to double that figure when it actually comes to hitting the back of the net.

Salah, meanwhile, has been expected to score 8.97 goals in the Premier League so far this season but is far outstripping that too.

What is clear there, though, is that the 28-year-old is either being provided or working himself more clear opportunities to find the target.

Salah also takes more shots per 90 minutes than Elliott and is more accurate, with around 3.2 strikes per game coming from the Liverpool star and 51% on target compared to 1.5 coming from the Reds loanee with 39% on target.

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