Neville picks out ‘brilliant’ Liverpool player for special praise

Joe Williams
Gary Neville Liverpool

Gary Neville was impressed by Harvey Elliott’s performance for Liverpool in their 1-1 draw with Chelsea on Saturday.

Kai Havertz opened the scoring for Chelsea at Anfield with a superb looping header before Mo Salah levelled from the penalty spot in a dramatic end to the first half.

Anthony Taylor sent off Chelsea full-back James for handling a Sadio Mane shot during a penalty-box melee after reviewing the footage on the advice of the video assistant referee.

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Elliott – who spent last season on loan at Championship side Blackburn Rovers – kept his place in the team after the Reds beat Burnley last week and he put in another great performance.

“He was brilliant,” Neville told Sky Sports when asked about Elliott. “He was confident, first few touches were outstanding and brought a bit of urgency to Liverpool through midfield.

“When he got on the ball I thought he brought a bit of impetus and a little bit something might happen. He looked to try and do something and take risks.

“A really good game, [his] second Premier League start and the first time I’ve seen him live. [It was a] fantastic performance.”

And fellow Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp was amazed by the “maturity” of the 18-year-old’s game.

“He plays with a maturity that belies his tender years,” Redknapp said. “He is so comfortable on the ball he looks like he’s been playing here for years.

“One or two occasions I’d love for him to be a bit more responsible and make something happen.

“I think if he carries on in the way he is, he can go right to the top and play for his country no two ways about it. I find it interesting Klopp plays it down and never gets too excited.”

Meanwhile, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was pleased with how his side played against the “strongest Chelsea side for a long, long time”.

Klopp said: “Today we obviously had bigger chances in the first half already, which we didn’t score. The performance was really good against the strongest Chelsea side for a long, long time.

“It’s always difficult against Chelsea and it’s now difficult against Chelsea, so I was really happy with the first half. The second half, I’m not somebody that just watches from time to time and says ‘oh 11 against 10, that must be easy’.

“I saw five million games, I know that’s really not a massive advantage, especially against a quality side like Chelsea with the defending skills they have.

“They knew the job they had to do was just to defend in and around the box more or less, and it was tricky. We could have done better for sure but it’s early in the season. We need this one moment where you get through, where you can finish it off.

“We had our finishers, we had good football moments. We tried everything, we defended the potential counter-attacks most of the time really well – sometimes we had to run a bit further to catch them again but we did.

“Chelsea put a proper shift in as well and I respect that, so it’s a draw. Just take the point and carry on.”