Programme notes'Harvey Elliott's return shows hard work pays off - not only his'
Jürgen Klopp and Jordan Henderson have both lauded the incredible support network that surrounded Harvey Elliott during his recovery from injury.
The 18-year-old enjoyed a memorable return to the pitch last weekend after nearly five months out, scoring his first goal for Liverpool in the 3-1 Emirates FA Cup win over Cardiff City.
In addition to his positive mindset throughout the rehabilitation, Elliott’s successful comeback from the serious ankle issue was also made possible thanks to the supreme dedication of the club’s medical department.
Inside Anfield: Liverpool 3-1 Cardiff City
In his column for the Leicester City matchday programme, Klopp writes: “I’m conscious of overplaying the situation with Harvey Elliott, because it’s critically important now we all realise he will still need time and patience to fully reintegrate and get to the consistent levels we expect of him and he expects of himself. But you’d need a heart of stone not to be moved by what happened. What a moment.
“It was apparent after the game, when our players were showing their love and joy towards Harvey that there was a recurring theme: hard work pays off. And what I loved about Harvey’s own comments post-match is that he was the first to recognise the hard work wasn’t only his.
“His comeback actually started seconds after he suffered the injury and continued right up until the moment he ran back onto the Anfield pitch on Sunday in the 58th minute.
“Chris Morgan (physio) and Jim Moxon (doctor) made critically important decisions on the pitch at Elland Road that day which protected Harvey when he was at his most vulnerable. They had a split-second to make those calls and they made all the right ones. The surgeon and doctors who cared for him in hospital likewise.
“Then when the focus turned to recovery it was Joe Lewis who picked up the baton, with a plan mapped out and overseen by Andreas Schlumberger. Harvey name-checked Joe in his post-match interview and there is a reason for that. The care and treatment he got was best-in-class. And not just physical care but emotional and mental support also.
“When it came time to be back on grass, Dave Rydings was a pivotal figure, again working with Andreas Schlumberger and Joe. My office at the AXA Training Centre overlooks the pitches and I lost count of the days I would watch those sessions and see the player get stronger with every sprint, jump and kick.
“I highlight all of this not because I think what’s happened with Harvey is in any way a miracle or even that extraordinary. The opposite actually. It’s what we expected. A top professional, even if very young, with an elite attitude to his work. Allied with knowledgeable and dedicated staff, eager to use their expertise to help make the process the best it could possibly be.
“I want to highlight it because it’s important to acknowledge the collective effort that goes into making a team successful. I’ve missed out dozens of other people who play a role in moments such as helping a player through an injury and rehab, including all the staff, from coaches to admin guys, in and around our training ground.
“There is the famous proverb: ‘It takes a village to raise a child’. And that applies also in a healthy football environment and we certainly have it at LFC. It is a community of people which makes this team what it is. The whole is greater than the sum of our parts and it’s nice to have relevant examples to remind ourselves of that.”
Henderson added: “I’ve referenced this before on these pages, but the care we receive at the club is second-to-none and I could write a book about the lengths that the staff go to in order to get us in the best possible condition.
“To put it as succinctly as I can, they go way beyond the call of duty and as captain I can speak on behalf of all of the lads when I say this is something that we are all hugely grateful for.
“I’ve always said that it would be interesting to see what Premier League teams would look like if we didn’t have this kind of support. It’s certainly safe to say that players would not be able to start as many games as they do, put it that way.
“It’s not just about physical care either, it’s also about looking after us mentally and sometimes it can be as simple – but vitally important – as saying the right thing at the right time to either lift our spirits or give us the confidence that we need in our own bodies.
“This is the journey that Harvey has been on so now hopefully he will have an injury-free run so that everyone involved in his recovery, particularly himself, can reap the benefits of their efforts.”