By BBC Sport
Harvey Elliott would have been forgiven if he had let his mind wander towards dreaming of playing at Anfield again as he put in the long, painful hours on his five-month road back to fitness.
But even in those daydreams as he recovered from the horrific ankle injury that brought his promising start to the season to a cruel halt, it’s unlikely they will have topped what actually unfolded on his “fairytale” return.
Just getting back on the pitch so quickly was an achievement for the 18-year-old, but there was more. The former Fulham youngster also scored his first goal for Liverpool in his side’s 3-1 FA Cup fourth-round win against Cardiff City.
It wasn’t a tap-in or a scuffed finish either. Elliott produced a gorgeous piece of control and a searing volley into the bottom corner – and it was in front of a Kop, clearly aware of his injury, that erupted with emotion as the ball hit the net.
Comebacks rarely get any sweeter.
Such a moment will have seemed a long way off when, playing against Leeds United in September, the teenager suffered a fracture dislocation of his left ankle following a challenge by defender Pascal Struijk.
“It was a bad start at Leeds and from that moment he was in a better place than the rest of us,” manager Jurgen Klopp told BBC Sport.
“We were all shocked but he is a special kid. It took a while and the medical team did an incredible job and he was patient enough to do the necessary things.
“Scoring a goal in front of The Kop makes it a fairytale. The 12 o’clock kick-off is maybe not the most emotional but when he came on it felt like eight o’clock on a European night with floodlights.
“The crowd were there and celebrated it, it was nice.”