Neco Williams' Performance Against Ireland Shows He's More Than Capable as Trent Alexander-Arnold's Stand-In

16 November 2020 12:30

Obviously, Trent Alexander-Arnold getting injured is pretty much the end of the world for Liverpool.

No other player in the Premier League offers the same creative threat from right back as the England international, and when you add in his spell on the sidelines alongside the already absent Virgil van Dijk and Fabinho, things look a little grim at Anfield.

But Alexander-Arnold was essentially plucked from obscurity when given his first Liverpool appearance in 2016, and while Neco Williams is already an established presence at international level with Wales, the teenager has shown no signs of intimidation or fear despite his inexperience at domestic level.

Despite only being 19 years old, Williams does not look out of place when called upon and the glimpses we have witnessed so far have all been promising. Many were shocked when he was called into the Wales squad at such a young age but he has proven in the games he's played how versatile and reliable he is, playing both on the right side of defence and midfield and scoring on his home debut.

In the Ireland game on Sunday in particular, Williams was brilliant. He's certainly more of a defensive force than Alexander-Arnold, being hard to dispossess and retaining possession in tricky areas while offering an attacking threat.

In fact, it was his cross which led to David Brooks' winner against Ireland. He might not have a billion assists in the bank yet, but there's certainly potential there.

Alexander-Arnold had pain in his calf in the 1-1 draw with Manchester City. | SHAUN BOTTERILL/Getty Images

It's hard to fill the void left by losing a talent like Alexander-Arnold, but Williams shares many of the same qualities, in particular the passing range. Much like his Liverpool teammate, he loves getting forward and offers pace on the overlap to help stretch defences.

Reds manager Jurgen Klopp could potentially call on James Milner at right back but we often see Klopp hand a youngster a chance in the starting XI. Williams was given minutes after the restart of the Premier League last season and will no doubt be called upon more often as we enter the busy festive period.

He announced himself to the Anfield crowd in the Carabao Cup game against Arsenal and turned provider for Divock Origi in the 94th minute to draw Liverpool level at 5-5. His assist helped Liverpool take the game to penalties as they eventually ran out winners.

Williams was given opportunities in the Premier League, the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup last season, but those appearances have come few and far between because of Alexander-Arnold's stranglehold on the right back position.

Liverpool's title credentials will be put to the test over the next few months, given their outrageously unlucky injury list, but Williams has shown he's more than capable of stepping in if required.

Source: 90min