KEY POINTS

  • Liverpool youngster Harvey Elliott joined Blackburn Rovers for a season-long loan deal
  • Elliott will wear the no. 16 shirt and has been given permission to play in the FA Cup
  • The 17-year-old midfielder has adapted well to Liverpool's system

Liverpool youngster Harvey Elliott, whose playing style has been likened to that of Lionel Messi, has signed a loan deal with EFL club Blackburn Rovers.

After making nine first-team appearances for the Reds, Liverpool FC announced Friday that Elliott has now completed a loan deal effective for the rest of the 2020-21 season with Blackburn Rovers, which competes in the Championship, the second tier of football in England.

Blackburn officially welcomed Elliott, who will wear the no. 16 shirt and has been given permission to play in the FA Cup.

He is the fourth player to complete a move to Ewood Park on deadline day, joining Leeds full-back Barry Douglas and Norwich midfielder Tom Trybull, who also signed loan deals. Blackburn signed Middlesbrough goalkeeper Aynsley Pears for an undisclosed fee.

Elliott, who spent his formative years in Fulham, continued his fine form in Liverpool. Fulham Academy director Huw Jennings once praised Elliott for his “Messi-like” style of playing, as quoted by The Athletic.

Liverpool assistant coach Pep Lijnders, meanwhile, lauded his impressive performance during his first training sessions with Jurgen Klopp’s side.

“What a surprise he was when he came for the first sessions,” Lijnders said of Elliott last season. “Some players, they play as if they are already say 28 or 29, he's a player who sees so much around him before things happen.”

Despite joining Blackburn, Elliott revealed in the past that he has become accustomed to Liverpool’s style and system.

“As the time has gone on, I've got used to it and adapted more,” Elliott said in April. “First coming into the training sessions I was like 'wow, this is really what it's like'. The technique and style of play is different. It was hard to adapt but it's easy at the same time because it's simple.”

“It's how you play and when you play, speeding up and controlling the game,” he added. “If you get that into your mind and get the technique right, you can adapt to it very well.”

Elliott hasn’t made a single appearance for the reigning Premier League champion this season, and Liverpool decided to send him to Championship to become better-rounded for his first-team return.

The 17-year-old midfield sensation is regarded as one of Liverpool’s future stars. After an impressive run with Fulham, the Reds signed Elliott in June 2019, having reportedly turned down offers from the likes of Real Madrid.

Prior to his move to Anfield, Elliott had already generated buzz in English football after breaking the record for the Premier League’s youngest player when he made his top-flight bow for Fulham at 16 years and 30 days old.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp wants the authorities to help with fixture pile-ups Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp wants the authorities to help with fixture pile-ups Photo: AFP / Oli SCARFF