Harvey Elliott stars in secret Liverpool friendly as Jurgen Klopp drops early FA Cup hint

In pictures: Crystal Palace v Liverpool

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Liverpool winger Harvey Elliott starred in a behind-closed-doors under-23s friendly against Wrexham on Saturday as he continues his recovery from a serious ankle injury. The 18-year-old hasn’t played since suffering a fracture dislocation of his left ankle in a game against Leeds United in September.

Elliott returned to full training earlier this month after a lengthy period of rehab work over the autumn and early winter.

And, according to The Times, Liverpool arranged the friendly with Wrexham especially for Elliott.

The youngster found the back of the net during the match and provided an assist as he made the most of his first outing in nearly five months.

He is understood to have played 60 minutes with 45 of those coming in midfield.

And Elliott’s run-out could even suggest that Reds manager Jurgen Klopp is preparing him for the side’s FA Cup fourth-round clash with Cardiff City.

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Liverpool are due to host the Bluebirds next Sunday after defeating Shrewsbury 4-1 in the third round.

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Elliott enjoyed a stellar campaign on loan at Championship side Blackburn Rovers last season as he scored seven goals and provided 11 assists in 42 games.

He returned to Anfield last summer and started three of Liverpool’s first four Premier League matches of the season.

The England under-17s international looked set to play a starring role this season but, following a challenge by Leeds defender Pascal Struijk in the fourth game of the campaign, the youngster was stretchered off and taken to hospital.

He later had surgery to repair the fracture and ligaments damaged in the incident, with club doctors stating they were confident he would play again this season.

 

Earlier this month, Reds manager Jurgen Klopp gave an update on the player.

“He has a foot injury and there are rusty mornings when you get up and it does feel rusty,” Klopp said.

“But he is running outside now with full body weight on it – that is a good sign.

“When he will be back I have no idea. From a mental point of view, Harvey is rather an old soul – I would say he is very mature for a young age.

“He is completely fine with the situation. He has accepted it – he deals with it.

“Everybody around tries to help him. I think I must try and cheer him up some days, but it is rarely needed because he has a brilliant family at home and is a rather positive fella.

“And yes we all hope from a physical point of view a young age helps him to recover quickly but quickly is not so important. Fully is the main thing.

“At the moment, and I hope I don’t eat my words, but I cannot see a scenario where we would think about rushing him back.”

Elliott has clearly continued to progress well since those comments and it now appears the ace could be back in Klopp’s side sooner rather than later.

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