The post-game chatter once again carried a familiar refrain. No game goes on in Liverpool these days without midfield being discussed and it proved it after Bournemouth’s blitz attack.
This time, however, there was a twist. Rather than scrutinize and criticize, the conversation about Jurgen Klopp’s engine room revolved around the fearlessness and enthusiasm that characterized the performances of two dashing Tyros.
Harvey Elliott, with his ringlets and cute left foot, has long been at the center of Klopp’s mind.
Harvey Elliott impressed in Jurgen Klopp’s midfield as Liverpool beat Bournemouth 9-0
The two youngsters have strengthened in recent weeks in the absence of star playmaker Thiago
At the end of last season, the Liverpool manager chided himself, saying it was “a crime” that he couldn’t give the 19-year-old more chances.
Opportunity killed that campaign and Elliott was in the right place to capitalize on it, standing out impressively from the moment Klopp unveiled him off the bench on opening day in Fulham.
He is inventive, determined and fearless, like all the best youngsters.
The 19-year-old playmaker scored his first goal of the season for the Reds in the sixth minute
Those words, however, fit equally with Fabio Carvalho, who turns 20 on Monday and started the celebrations early by scoring his first goal for Liverpool – their eighth in a competition that almost required an abacus – to make the excellent impression to preserve the one he left for Anfield since leaving Fulham.
His joy at joining Elliott, who swept Liverpool’s second into the top scorers list with a wonderfully crisp strike after replacing him at half-time, knew no bounds and delighted her manager, as did the rejuvenated Roberto Firmino and the electric Luis Diaz , both of which doubled.
Reports from training on Elliott and Carvalho have been stellar all summer and Virgil van Dijk, number five goalscorer on a day that remarkably passed without Mo Salah, was only too happy to confirm the positive impression they made.
“You need that maturity,” said Van Dijk, who seemed struck by some of the criticism he received. “Especially when things don’t go as well as they have in the last two weeks, these guys have the right mentality that we need. They showed that here.
Fabio Carvalho also took his chance after injuring Liverpool star Thiago Alcantara
“Harvey was good against Manchester United, Fabio came and played very well too. They will have moments, good moments, but they will have moments to learn from. That’s how football works. We are not robots.”
Of course there will still be bumps along the way but Klopp is not the type to overlook them at the first sign of unease and that is why the debate over whether he will sign another midfielder before Thursday’s deadline is so complex.
Klopp says he’d like to bring someone into the game and if you look at his bench against Bournemouth you can see why – players like Bobby Clark, Stefan Bajcetic and Harvey Davies would normally only expect to play in Carabao Cup games.
Clark, a 17-year-old from Epsom who replaced another goalscorer in Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Bajcetic, an 18-year-old from Spain, made their debuts and were involved as Liverpool pursued a club and Premier League record-breaking tenth goal. Klopp could not have asked for better circumstances for their introduction.
The Reds youngster scored his first goal of the season since joining from Fulham in the summer
But what would have happened if Liverpool had been chasing a deficit? Lucky for them, Bournemouth was so flimsy and pathetic that manager Scott Parker looked like he’d seen a ghost on what he called the worst day of his career.
Liverpool’s injury situation is unlikely to change too dramatically ahead of Newcastle’s visit on Wednesday so Klopp would be delighted to have another experienced option. But he won’t bring anyone just to increase the numbers.
He will not sign anyone who will be an obstacle to Elliott – whose father Scott celebrated his goal by tossing his white jacket in the air in the main stand – or Carvalho as they have shown they are Liverpool’s future. What Parker would do to have options like that.
Virgil van Dijk admitted he was “very impressed” by Liverpool’s two young midfielders
“With the number of games we play, we need a lot of midfielders,” said Van Dijk. “Midfielders are the engine of our team, they win so many balls for us. You see how many games we play, we rotate a lot in midfield, apart from Fabinho. We need everyone.
“I’m very impressed with both of them. Harvey was showing before his injury (last season) and now he’s showing the same as before. I’m also impressed by Fabio. I didn’t know him before he came but I think he can be really good for us as a club too.
One aspect that was certainly ‘really good’ was the invigorating nature of the result, Anfield’s most comprehensive since they beat Crystal Palace by the same score in September 1989.
Those looking for coincidences will note that Liverpool ended this season as champions.
Klopp, on the other hand, will not look further ahead than Newcastle. Neither did the hungry Elliott and Carvalho, by the way.