Jurgen Klopp has built a machine of a team over the last six years, but with several members of the squad now around the 30 mark one eye has to be on the future and keeping the squad young and fresh. One player that certainly fits into that category is Harvey Elliott, who’s enjoyed a break out campaign, showing more than just his ability on the pitch.

Everyone knew the potential Harvey Elliott possessed as a raw 16 year old. That’s why he became the youngest player to play in the Premier League and why Liverpool were quick to snap him up from Fulham. Now, having recently turned 19, he’s starting to live up to that potential, and, but for a cruel injury back in September, it’s likely he would’ve continued to play a pivotal role in Liverpool’s charge towards an unprecedented quadruple. As it was though, Elliott instead had to show another side to his game: that of resilience and mental strength – key ingredients attributed to Klopp’s team. Yes, Elliott is a Liverpool player through and through, and having established himself as a first team player this season, enjoying an impressive comeback, you can’t help but feel that he’s set to play an integral role for the club going forward.

Catching up with the midfielder recently, we spoke in-depth on a range of topics, from that injury to his future with both club and country, and just like his performances on the pitch his answers were refreshingly entertaining throughout.

First up then, why the number 67?

So I used to love players who wore the number 7 when I was a kid – Luis Suarez, people like that. I used to have my own shirt with 7 on the back. Then when you sign at such a young age you don’t really get to pick from the lower numbers. 67 was just the next one available with 7 in it, so I thought, yeah, why not. At the same time I thought because I was kind of playing on the right wing, and to have Trent as 66 then me as 67, I thought it looked quite good.

You could do a lot with it in terms of branding as well…

Yeah, there’s not that many people that have it as well, footballiing-wise, and it’s nice to be unique.

Is it something you think you’ll carry on with?

Who knows! I think if one of the big numbers came up then it’s everyone’s dream to have a great squad number.

With the highs come the inevitable lows, and for you that was the injury, which happened when you were in such great form. How did you take the news when you heard you were going to be out for a while?

When they told me how long I think I reacted in a… it was frustrating and that, but I think it helped that I didn’t understand it properly at that time. Then as rehab went on, thing is they say worse case, don’t they? But my dad said it in other interviews as well, but if someone tells me a time then I’m trying to knock it off and come back quicker. Think I was able to knock a month and a bit off.

It was hard doing rehab six days a week only in the gym, seeing all your teammates going out to train, whilst you’re in the gym doing the dirty work as they say. So yeah, it was hard, but I used it as something to improve on. For me, because I’m quite small I need to use my body a lot more, so I though it as an opportunity to do some gym work in terms of muscle building in the legs, arms and upper body. Just things I probably wasn’t focussing on when I was playing, just because you’re playing week in, week out and you don’t have that much time to chill and recover. It was an opportunity to come back feeling fresh and able to hold my own still and be confident in my body.

elliott 8-min.jpg
elliott 6-min.jpg
I was able to take my learning from Fulham at a young age into Liverpool and hold my own and feel confident in that environment, and feel confident in myself playing, knowing that I’m capable of expressing myself and expressing how good I can be."

Amazing effort. You talk so well about it. Do you feel like you’ve had to grow up pretty fast with everything that’s come your way?

I think I’ve been in this environment a lot, through the younger years – I made my Premier League debut when I was 15 – so to be in and around adults at such a young age, it’s reflected and rubbed onto myself. Obviously I’ve done silly things as a kid in the past, but everyone goes through that. I think the main thing is just learning about what you’ve done wrong and putting it right.

What’s it like at 15 years old being around grown men in the changing room?

I wasn’t actually allowed to get changed with the adults, because I was under age. When I played my first game I had to get changed in a separate room, so it was a bit weird. It’s also weird looking back on it now and thinking I was only 15… Millwall’s not really the nicest team to play against in terms of fans, and players are all very passionate so it was a hard game to be thrown into. You’re on the bench, warming up in front of the Millwall fans… but yeah, it was good.

That route coming back though, you can feel the mental strength you’ve gained?

Yeah, I think as I said, getting to grips with football from a young age and being thrown in, you learn very quickly and you see what players do every day in training. So you’re always learning, and being able to do that at a young age and now playing at Liverpool with world class players, I was able to take my learning from Fulham at a young age into Liverpool and hold my own and feel confident in that environment, and feel confident in myself playing, knowing that I’m capable of expressing myself and expressing how good I can be.

elliott 4-min.jpg
elliott 12-min.jpg

Love your confidence. Have you always been conscious of that, in terms of grabbing attention in how you carry yourself and how you play?

I don’t really like the attention to be honest. I leave it to my football. I can take myself away from it and away from the pitch I need to be humble and confident in your own way, just as everyone else  does, but when you;’re on the pitch you need to have that swagger about yourself. My dad’s always drilled that into me – cross the line and that’s it, let your football do your talking. Have that confidence, have that swagger, but as soon as you come off you need to chill out, compose yourself and sort of come back down to earth. Be yourself and realise that, at the end of the day, no one’s better than anyone else in life. Some people are just fortunate in what they get to do.

With all the highs you’ve experienced already it must be hard to come back down to earth though. It must be hard to go to sleep at night after a game?

Yeah it’s hard, especially being in the spotlight as well. What ever it is – you could have a bad game or make a mistake which leads to a goal and you’re in the spotlight, or you could score three and you’re in the spotlight – whatever you do you’re always there and I think that’s probably the hardest part of being a footballer. Just wherever you go, whatever you do, people are going to take pictures or videos, you can’t really enjoy yourself off the pitch. You need to be very cautious and careful. I’m always checking my surroundings. You just need to be aware.

You see players with security guards and, maybe for the highest profile players like your Ronaldo’s, they need that. But I don’t want that kind of attention. I don’t want to be walking around with people looking at me. I just want to be normal, go do things either by myself or with my girlfriend, friends, family and I just want to be able to enjoy that time without having to worry about people looking.

Like I said before, we’re all ordinary people. In the outside world we’re the same, but in the stadium… it’s hard, but it’s good.

Just looking at your tattoos, is that how you like to preserve some of those memories of the things you’ve already achieved?

Yeah, I think there’s different ways of remembering. There’s always pictures from technology. But with the tattoos it’s just things close to me. I’ve got one of my dog, a quote that keeps me going. I look at it before training and before games and stuff. Something for me. People may find out what it says in the future, but for now it’s something that I like to keep to myself.

elliott 7-min.jpg
elliott 13-min.jpg

That move from London to Liverpool, different cities, different cultures. How did you find that?

Yeah, I mean, I don’t go out a lot, but when I do, obviously I can’t mix with everyone, but I try to go out. When people do notice me in the street I try to take the time to make sure that I show my support to them. They work hard week in, week out to be able to pay for tickets to come and watch us. You get some players who don’t really like that side of things, which is understandable as well, because you don’t want it constantly, but as much as I can I try to take my time and show my appreciation to them.

Even before moving up to Liverpool though I knew what the city was about, because I’d been here before to watch Liverpool matches, round the city before a game, and I knew how lively it is, as well as the history behind the city. Liverpool will always be a great city, no changing that; the people here, I haven’t met one bad person in three years.

You’ve mentioned your dad and family a few times… how does it feel to now be in a position to give back to them, not just financially, but emotionally? Seeing you in a Liverpool shirt must be an incredibly proud feeling for them…

I think it’s a dream for everyone to be honest. My little brother is a Liverpool fan and he’s been a Liverpool fan all along, so for him to be able to go along to all the games, home and away, to meet the players… he met Roberto Firmino for the first time and I actually think he did cry to be honest! For them as well it’s a dream come true. My dad supported them all along so he goes along to all the games. Then just being able to give them an easier life is my main focus, regardless of who I played for; my priority is my family, making sure that they are stable, not stressing, not having to work. To be able to do that at Liverpool and being able to experience this club while helping my family… just a dream come true.

Love the idea of your brother crying when he met Firmino. Do you ever think that you can have that effect on people?

As I said, I see myself as just a normal person. For a little kid for example though, they see a Premier League footballer. I’m still coming to grips with it… it’s hard to explain. I mean, my brother burst out crying! But these are the effects that you have.

It’s exactly what I said about trying to take the time to show my appreciation towards these people, take time to speak to these little kids. I mean, people come from all over the world to watch us play. That’s why when I can – because you can’t do it all the time – but it’s nice to give little things away, like shirts, boots stuff like that. People probably don’t know, but we get sent loads of boots and we wear them all the time, same with shirts. But for a little kid, they think it’s his boots or his shirt. For me it costs me nothing to give away my shirt or a pair of boots, but for them it’s unbelievable.

elliott 11-min.jpg
elliott 9-min.jpg
You’ve just got to back your teammates at the end of the day. For me we’re brothers, we all fight for each other. If someone’s suffering, we’re all suffering, especially in a cup final."

As a creative player, how much is football about just enjoying yourself?

It’s enjoyment I think. It’s a fitness thing as well and an exercise thing as well. So many people in the world are realising how important exercise is and so many people are kicking a football about, whether it’s on the streets, parks, wherever. So to be able to grow up and do something I love… you can’t be ungrateful.

You’re always going to have those down moments, like the injury for me, and you’re not going to feel good. But for me I was thinking about what I’ve experienced so far in the Premier League, the Super Cup, Club World Cup, and just the experience of being able to play for Liverpool. So you think about all of these positives and think about the injury and realise it’s not career ending, it’s not like I’m never going too play football again, so you come back stronger, feeling better in yourself and more confident.

Your conviction and the fire in your belly, like in that Chelsea game at Wembley when you stood up for your teammates, how much do you thrive off that?

To see Trent and Havertz square up… you’ve just got to back your teammates at the end of the day. You’re there and you fight with them. You see them every single day. I probably spend more time with them than I do with my family. For me we’re brothers, we all fight for each other. If someone’s suffering, we’re all suffering, especially in a cup final.

You need that passion and hunger, even to get the fans going. The fans need to see that you’re fighting for the team and are wanting to win. That thing with Havertz was just the heat of the moment; emotions were high for both teams as we both wanted to win. Then obviously the penalty shootout came and that’s when you let it all out. You let all your emotions out: you let out your anger, your passion, determination and desire to win.

What a penalty shootout as well, just insane.

Yeah, to top it off like that just summed it up. That nerve wracking 90 minutes, and then the extra time, goals offside and stuff like that. Then to win it in a penalty shootout was a massive relief, everyone let go. More silverware and hopefully we can go on to do more this season.

elliott 5-min.jpg
elliott 2-min.jpg

You must get asked about the manager all the time, but let us in a little bit though your eyes. How would you describe him?

He’s like a father figure. Not just with me, but with everyone in the team. He doesn’t have favourites, he doesn’t have people he doesn’t like. For me personally, there’s no one there that I’d say so and so doesn’t like him because of this. We’re all just normal people playing football for a team we love. Jurgen’s a top manager, and it shows. A top guy. He’s just someone you love to work for; someone you’d go that extra mile for. You’d run yourself into the ground for him. He has that effect on everyone. Everyone wants to do that, everyone wants to give 110 percent for him and his coaching team.

For me, he’s the best person I could be learning from at my age. The opportunities and experiences he’s given me, I can’t thank him enough for them.

Away from the pitch, who gives you inspiration in the way they are?

Just my family. Family inspire me a lot.What they’ve been through at young ages, they’ve all had different experiences, they’ve all had situations that they’ve had to get through two get me to where I am today. My dad travelled all around England to take me two football matches so that I could play in them when, as a family, it probably wasn’t the best idea at the time. To be able to give something back and give them that easy life now, an enjoyable life… Even when I was hard work they were always there for me.

Staying off the pitch and focussing on your wardrobe in particular… Tell us about it, do you like putting a whole look together?

With the world now though people are very judgemental. So it’s not that you need to impress anyone or make sure you’re always looking fresh for someone or not wanting to be judged… I don’t care, I’ll wear anything if I enjoy it and feel comfortable in it. But I think it’s the lifestyle that you’re in now with football; you see a lot of big players wearing crazy outfits and everyone’s posting about it saying he’s wearing this and that. It comes with it to be honest. People are always going to look at you and what you’re wearing.

For me personally, I prefer shoes over clothing. I think I probably have about, say, close to 200 pairs of shoes. Mum and dad are always going on about me having too many, but shoes are shoes for me, and they’re a massive part of my life. Getting them out of the box, all fresh, taking the tissue out and trying them on for the first time… I get pleasure out of it. It’s nice feel fresh, to put a new piece on and feel like you look good.

elliott 10-min.jpg
elliott 3-min.jpg

It feels like you have a nice relationship with New Balance, with opportunities coming your way that you might not get elsewhere?

You feel wanted with them. They’re always willing to go that extra mile with you. They get you involved in shoots and stuff off the pitch, little bits and bobs here and there that make you feel nice about yourself, wanted. Like you said, some other brands have different ideas and different ways of going about things. Other brands you might be one of 200 players, but those 200 might be world class players, so it’s going to be hard. But with New Balance, ever since I started speaking with them I always like the clothes and kits, because we played in them for a few years with Liverpool. Ever since there was interest there was only one way it was going for me.

The signature boot was nice. It’s just these small things that make you feel good about yourself. Happy that you have a good sponsorship. It’s the same with my relationship with Liverpool in a way; you’re just willing to do anything for the brand.

You mentioned the signature boot. In terms of the creative process behind that, did you get to be involved in that?

Yeah I got involved in a lot in fairness. The design team came up with the idea and the design, you then say what little bits you want here and there and what sort of initials or details you want. But I’m happy leaving a lot of it to them, they’re so good at it.

Do you like seeing the process behind these kind of things in the industry and does it make you want to try more stuff?

It’s something different. I think it’s important to be inventive and as I’ve said, I like to be unique. New Balance are great at it as well. I know what I like, and they’re flexible with that. You go somewhere else and you may not get that and it can become more about what the brand wants and not what the player wants.

New Balance have done a lot for me already and it’s only been a year or so. So to just give back and not cause problems for them is the way to go.

elliott 16-min.jpg
elliott 17-min.jpg
[Klopp’s] like a father figure. Not just with me, but with everyone in the team. You’d run yourself into the ground for him. He has that effect on everyone. Everyone wants to do that, everyone wants to give 110 percent for him and his coaching team."

With everything you’ve achieved at such a young age, how does that reset your standards, so to speak?

For me personally, I just take things step by step. I don’t think about the future – the next week or the next month. I just take things as they come. Take opportunities as they come. You may look forward to things, you may not, but that’s life. So I have big aims and big goals, it’s just down to me to make sure I take the opportunity if it comes. But as I said, I just take it day by day and make sure I’m working hard and performing to the best of my ability.

Where does your mind go when you think of the International stage?

International football is good. You look at the World Cup and the buzz around the country, everyone out watching it, summer time as well and it was great. I hope the opportunities will come – whenever I play for the national team at any level I’m honoured because it’s a dream to play for your country. Just waiting for the first team call up, but first and foremost I have to work hard every day for LFC, deliver on the pitch and then hopefully one day that may come. It will be hard as we’ve got so many good players, but I’ve just got to work hard for it and show Gareth Southgate that I’m potentially able to play if he wants me to.

Following on from your brother crying at meeting Bobby Firmino, who’s going to be crying when you make your debut?

Probably my mum. She’s very emotional! It goes back to what she’s been through. So seeing her son walk out and play football… she’s emotional. But I enjoy making my family proud, it’s a great buzz and I just want to keep doing it and keep achieving these things. We can accomplish things as a family that we never thought anyone could accomplish. So just to be able to have my family at games, too see them when I’m warming up or walking out or score a goal… to be able to share that moment with them it’s nice.

elliott 15-min.jpg
elliott 14-min.jpg

Harvey Elliott wears the New Balance Furon v6+, which you can pick up at prodirectsoccer.com