Liverpool have got some important decisions to make in the coming weeks and months. Jürgen Klopp has to solve the issues he faces at the back, there are just two senior centre backs in the side following the departure of Dejan Lovren and the injury to Virgil van Dijk. One academy starlet could step up to great effect – Barry Lewtas has heaped praise on Rhys Williams for his heading ability.
Van Dijk absence
Liverpool will be without Virgil van Dijk for the rest of the season.
The Dutchman tore his ACL in the Merseyside Derby when Jordan Pickford recklessly lunged at the defender’s knees after losing his barings.
Remarkably, Pickford remained on the pitch as the centre back trudged off to receive treatment.
Heading into the season some questioned the wisdom of starting the campaign with just three recognised centre backs, the Van Dijk injury has lent further weight to these questions.
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The Reds are certain to sign a centre back in January, in the meantime they’re likely to turn to the youngsters at some point.
Rhys Williams praised
The start of this season saw a couple of surprise chances given to Rhys Williams, opportunities which he took with both hands.
The 19-year-old defender impressed against Arsenal and Lincoln City in the EFL Cup and has since continued his strong form in the U23s side, scoring a thumping header at the weekend. Barry Lewtas heaped praise on Rhys Williams, saying:
“[Heading] is real asset for Rhys and I’ve seen him over the years work ever so hard on his heading, the leap and the finish. As a centre-back it’s a real weapon and it was a cracking goal.”
What RTK has to say
This bodes well for Liverpool, one of the biggest negatives of the Van Dijk absence will be the loss of his aerial ability.
The fact that Rhys Williams has such a ‘weapon’ in his heading prowess could prove important when Jürgen Klopp looks to the academy for potential stand ins.
Nat Phillips got the nod for the bench at the weekend but we could well see Rhys Williams given another opportunity in the near future – he came on against Ajax in the Champions League, why stop there?