Rhys Williams: who is Liverpool’s new starting centre-back?
Liverpool look set to have 19-year-old centre-back Rhys Williams at the heart of the defence for the next few weeks.
The youngster came off the bench to replace Fabinho after the Brazilian sustained a hamstring injury in the first-half of last night’s Champions League win over FC Midtjylland.
With Virgil van Dijk sidelined for most of the season with an ACL knee injury and Joel Matip also injured at the moment, it looks like teenager Williams will partner Joe Gomez in the coming weeks.
Who is Rhys Williams?
Williams might be a new figure on the first-team scene – having made four appearances since making his debut in the EFL Cup win over Lincoln City in September – but he is a familiar face around the club.
Williams joined the Liverpol academy as a 10-year-old in 2011. He was born an hour up the road in Preston.
He was part of the side that won the FA Youth Cup in 2019, when Neco Williams was among his team-mates.
On the strength of his displays with the under-18 side, Williams joined Kidderminster Harriers on loan for the 2019/20 season.
His displays at Aggborough clearly impressed Jurgen Klopp and his coaching team, who involved the young defender in their first-team plans from the start of the 2020/21 season.
He earned his first England Under-21 call-up earlier this month and made his debut in the 3-3 draw with Andorra on 7 October.
While Williams was already getting playing time in the Carabao Cup and might have been afforded some substitute appearances in the Champions League and Premier League, he has now been thrust into the limelight by the Reds’ defensive injury crisis.
If Matip fails to recover from the muscle injury he sustained in the Merseyside derby clash with Everton, Williams and 23-year-old Nathaniel Phillips are Klopp’s only options to partner Gomez.