Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has waxed lyrical about Rhys Williams following his appearance in the Champions League on Wednesday night.
This time last season, the 19-year-old Reds academy graduate was turning out for Kidderminster, having joined the non-league outfit on an initial half-season loan.
Williams impressed at Aggborough, earning himself an extension in January, but returned to Anfield after the National Leagues were curtailed in wake of the global health crisis.
A long-term contract extension at Liverpool followed in September, and to date, he has made three senior appearances for the Reds, including in Europe’s elite competition.
Williams came on as a late substitute in the Merseysiders’ 1-0 win away at Ajax, a superb moment for the young talent.
“Yes, that’s a nice story,” Klopp told the Reds media team during his pre-Sheffield United press conference.
“I saw it in his eyes after the game that he was pretty impressed by that occasion and that’s nice.
“He is a big talent – not only big physically, but he is a real talent and it’s nice to have him around. That he played last year non-league, that makes it special.”
Credit to Williams for his hard work throughout the past 18 months, impressing at Kidderminster and then wowing the coaches at Liverpool, culminating in first-team minutes including in the Champions League.
The England youth international is a tall, commanding defender who’s great in the air and composed on the ball – all the traits needed to succeed in the game.
And with Virgil van Dijk out of action for the foreseeable future, Williams is very much in line for plenty more first-team minutes in the coming months.