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Liverpool are quietly developing a new partnership which could solve two problems



Harvey Elliott has just one assist this season but has proven very creative for a particular Liverpool striker who needs a goal.

Liverpool’s form has been so erratic in 2022-23 that almost any of their players could use a kick-off as the campaign heads home.

Mohamed Salah, for example, is arguably the Reds’ top scorer in all competitions, with his goal in Wednesday’s 2-0 home win against Wolves his 20th of the season, but he has his lowest goals for 90 minutes in the league since the age of 21 with Basel.

In defence, Virgil van Dijk has at times fallen short of the imperious best of him, Ibrahima Konate has started just five league games, while Trent Alexander-Arnold has just one assist in the Premier League other than Alisson Becker.

An article to that effect could probably be written for any member of Liverpool’s midfield except Stefan Bajcetic, the teenager who hadn’t played as a starter before November. Still, it’s certainly been an interesting season for Harvey Elliott, and an unannounced partnership he has with a teammate could benefit them between now and the end of May. Prior to Liverpool’s recent 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace, Joe Gomez has featured in the Match Day squad for every game this season. However, a muscle injury made him unavailable for the trip to Selhurst Park, leaving Elliott the only player involved throughout 2022/23.

The 19-year-old has also appeared in every game, which is remarkable considering the terrible injury he suffered at Leeds last season. However, after starting steadily in the first half of the season, Elliott was a mere substitute in all five games between the 3-0 loss to Wolves and the game against Palace before returning to winning ways in midfield. week on the Molineux team.

If there’s any concern about his performances this season, it’s not a matter of goals; Only Salah, Darwin Nunez and Roberto Firmino have passed him and barring a miracle in Madrid, the campaign is almost three-quarters over. It’s a little disappointing that Elliott provided just one assist – for Nunez against Southampton – although, like Alexander-Arnold, the waste of his teammates means his creativity hasn’t been fully rewarded.

The midfielder basically has the reverse of Diogo Jota’s season in the previous three appearances. The Portuguese striker has been out of selection for 24 games this season and is just behind Arthur Melo and Luis Diaz on the wrong side of Liverpool’s injured list.

When he was able to play, Jota found time to score six goals (the third joint for the team), thanks largely to Salah for his record-breaking Ibrox hat-trick. However, he has a goal drought that goes back nearly a year. The 2-0 win over Wolves continued the theme, with Elliott creating a huge chance as Jota netted another goal. The good news for both is that history suggests their connection could solve some problems for both players.

The Liverpool No.19 has created eight clear Opta-defined chances since the start of last season and three of them have been for the former Wolves man, more than any other player. And this despite the fact that Elliott already spends more time on the pitch with Nunez than with Jota and almost three times as much with Salah.

The golden opportunities have also presented themselves in other circumstances. The first happened last season in an FA Cup match against Norwich City. Elliott put in a cross from the penalty area for the Kop, but Jota was unable to direct his header on goal.

The pair then formed the first clear chance both sides had when the Reds beat Manchester City 1-0 last October, with a header saved in the event. Most recently, Elliott played Jota during the final minute of a 2-0 win at Newcastle United, but the opportunity once again kept begging for it.

It makes sense that this unlikely couple could be so productive together. The midfielder regularly appears on lists of the most forward-thinking young passers in the major leagues, while Jota, when fully fit and shooting, is one of the best finishers around. Hopefully, the next time they combine their respective assists and goals, any worries can be allayed