The Brazilian was substituted for Rhys Williams after half an hour of football in Anfield, and given Virgil van Dijk’s long-term injury, Joel Matip’s lack of availability and Dejan Lovren’s departure this summer, the 19-year-old could be a regular on-stage performer in the coming weeks.
Jurgen Klopp has a serious problem at the heart of his defence, with Fabinho now added to the list of injured central defenders in Liverpool after he had a hamstring problem against FC Midtjylland.
Jurgen Klopp may be forced to play for Rhys Williams in the coming weeks, but the young defender has a strength on his side
However, he does have some desirable characteristics that indicate that despite his inexperience he can play for the Reds, his most outstanding strength being his ability to breathe.
Williams has hardly played for Liverpool’s senior team, as he has only played for the first team in the Carabao Cup and Champions League this season.
With a score of 6-3, Williams is able to throw the ball off the ground, and Pep Ljinders, in one of his recent press conferences, understood exactly why this is such a valuable quality for a Liverpool central defender.
The teenager has contested 17 aerial combat duels so far and won 12 of them, giving him a success rate of 70.6%; Van Dijk placed among the top five European leagues with an average victory rate of 74.2% in the Premier League last season.
Joe Gomez achieved 62.8% in England’s top league last season.
As a result of Liverpool’s game under Klopp, his central defenders must be dominant and versatile to meet the demands of the role, with few weaknesses.
The Dutch coach explained: “As a pressing team, you have to accept a lot of long balls and second balls, so it’s important to have central defenders who are good in the air so they can win the first challenge.
It’s reasonable to assume that Williams won’t tick all the boxes, but as a gap-filler who plays to his strengths and takes very few, if any, risks, the English defender could prove useful, and Liverpool could certainly do worse.
The fans will learn more about his level on the way forward, but after the minutes he has played so far, he seems quite comfortable executing a physical and proactive style of play.