Trent Alexander-Arnold has told Liverpool’s website that the impact made by Rhys Williams was “world class”, after the teenager replaced Fabinho following a hamstring injury – and made an exciting prediction about the defender.
Williams, 19, clocked up his fourth senior outing for Liverpool after Fabinho went off with a hamstring injury. It leaves Liverpool very light at centre-back, with Joel Matip still injured and Virgil van Dijk out for the majority of the campaign.
He helped the Reds keep a clean sheet against Danish side FC Midtjylland, in which goals from Diogo Jota and a late Mo Salah penalty won the match for Jurgen Klopp’s side. It sees Jurgen Klopp’s side take six points from their first two games.
With Matip, van Dijk and Fabinho all out injured, England youth international Williams could start against West Ham on Saturday evening. Alexander-Arnold labelled Williams’ impact as world class, suggesting he is in Klopp’s thoughts for Saturday.
“That position is probably a little bare at the minute but we’ve got an amazing squad, you’ve seen Rhys Williams stepping in and doing a world-class job,” Alexander-Arnold said. “At such a young age with such little experience, unbelievable from him.
“He never really put a foot wrong. Well done to him and I think he’s got a bright future ahead. I think he’s an amazing player, he’s shown that over the last few weeks. The manager obviously trusts him a lot and he’s been playing a few minutes.
“To be thrown in at the deep end on the biggest of stages is tough to do, tough to perform, but he never really put a foot wrong. So I think he’ll definitely be in the manager’s thoughts hopefully come the weekend and further on.”
TBR’s view – Should Liverpool play Williams at centre-back?
If Liverpool are to simply look at Williams or another centre-back from reserve and youth teams, then Williams or Nat Phillips are the only options. But Liverpool could be better advised to convert a midfielder – or change formation.
Jordan Henderson played at centre-back in the Club World Cup against Monterrey – and that could be an option. Reverting to a back three and playing with inverted central defenders could also work, James Milner could be used either side of Joe Gomez.
But the best solution is likely to be pairing Williams with Gomez. Only time will tell.