Harvey Elliott has been explaining his decision to inherit Sadio Mane’s old No.19 shirt at Liverpool, with the 19-year-old seemingly destined to tread that path after first donning said jersey as a child.
A Senegalese superstar has bid farewell to Anfield during the summer of 2022, with a Champions League and Premier League title winner with 120 goals to his name opting to take on a new challenge at Bayern Munich.
Jurgen Klopp and Co are looking for somebody to step up and fill that void, with teenage playmaker Elliott eager to follow in the illustrious footsteps of a boyhood idol by filling a role that a Reds icon occupied between 2016 and 2018.
Why has Elliott taken Mane’s No.19 shirt?
The England U21 international was handed the No.67 jersey after being added to the senior squad at Liverpool, on the back of a switch from Fulham, and has taken in 20 competitive appearances to date.
He believes the time is right to step up the pecking order on Merseyside and feels no added pressure from inheriting Mane’s old shirt, telling the Reds’ official website: “Obviously the number became available, some great players have worn it in the past – the likes of Sadio and the list goes on.
“I think it was an opportunity to get down the ranks in terms of the numbers, and for me personally it's a wonderful number.
“I remember having a Sadio shirt with the number 19 on it as a kid. So to be able to wear it after him, it's a great pleasure.
“At the end of the day, a number is just a number, but it's just nice to have a lower number. I think it's a great opportunity going into another season.
“So, hopefully I can prove to myself and prove to everyone that I'm able to have these kind of numbers and able to perform under this kind of pressure, because it comes with it.
“I'm just so excited to put this shirt on and get playing again.”
Who else has worn Liverpool’s No.19 shirt?
Elliott, who battled his way back from a badly dislocated ankle last season to see more minutes under Klopp, is filling a jersey that nobody has occupied since Ozan Kabak’s loan spell at Liverpool came to a close in the summer of 2021.
Mane, who moved to No.10 in 2018, was No.19 immediately prior to that and remains the standout performer to have donned that jersey for the Reds in the Premier League.
Among the others to have filled that role in the Reds’ squad are former England international midfielder Stewart Downing, Dutch forward Ryan Babel and ex-Spain international striker Fernando Morientes.