Rhys Williams could be exactly what Liverpool need as they prepare to take on West Ham United. The Reds are suffering a defensive crisis right now.
Virgil van Dijk’s out. Joe Matip is out. Now Fabinho is out. Liverpool might have to turn to Rhys Williams to face West Ham United on Saturday.
The 19-year-old has never played in the Premier League, spending the last campaign in the Conference National with Kidderminster Harriers. But he stepped up in the Champions League on Tuesday and looked solid.
And so Williams may have to face West Ham. Joe Gomez is the only fit senior centre-half and Fabinho, the fourth-choice, is out, too. But in truth, it’s maybe a blessing if Williams plays.
Michail Antonio may not face Liverpool. He picked up an injury against West Ham United and it’s still unclear if he’ll make it back. The ready-made replacement, then, is Sebastien Haller.
The Frenchman hasn’t shone in East London but he certainly has his qualities. Haller is a major aerial threat – and that could worry Liverpool.
Van Dijk is the primary defender when it comes to aerial duels. Matip follows, with Gomez after him, but neither are on Van Dijk’s level. Fabinho, certainly, is not known for his ability in the air.
That would have been a real problem for Liverpool if they do come across Haller. For one, West Ham cross the ball plenty (3rd most in the Premier League, per Fbref.com), meaning they would certainly take advantage.
Fortunately, Williams is a strong aerial defender. As coach Barry Lewtas recently said, it’s ‘a real asset’ of his. It could be, then, that Williams is exactly what Liverpool need to counter the Hammers this weekend.
This could prove to be the making of Williams at Liverpool, should Klopp go in his direction.