Neco Williams played a new position against Aston Villa on Sunday. It’s one that will guarantee him a first-team role at Liverpool.
Williams has one major problem at Liverpool – Trent Alexander-Arnold. He plays the same position, is only a couple of years older, and is absolutely world-class.
That makes it incredibly difficult for a young player to break into the team. Williams will struggle to be better than Alexander and he can’t wait for him to step aside.
Yet Jurgen Klopp sees Williams as a ‘genuine first-team option’, according to Goal. So how will that work? Do Liverpool have room for a backup right-back? How often could he even play?
We got the answer to those questions on Sunday as Williams made his third Premier League appearance against Villa.
Neco Williams in a new position
The teenager came on at left-back for Andy Robertson this time – not Alexander-Arnold. That’s how he’ll get his minutes and how he’ll get his place in the first-team squad.
While there are limited minutes and opportunities for a young player, both increase significantly if he’s versatile. Being able to play both full-back positions would make Williams a key squad player.
Liverpool are in a strange position with possibly the two best full-backs in the world but no recognised backup for either. Joe Gomez can cover at right-back but he’s actually a centre-half – and arguably first XI there, too.
James Milner covers at left-back but he’s a midfielder. Left-back is never his natural position, even if he’s a solid option there.
Neco Williams covering more than one position to a high level would be brilliant for the squad and for him. Klopp gets a new natural option in two roles and can rotate with ease.
Williams, in turn, gets far more opportunities to develop. This new position, as simple as playing on the other flank, can be the making of him at Liverpool.