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England detail why Rhys Williams was sent back to Liverpool

England under-21 manager Aidy Boothroyd has confirmed that Liverpool defender Rhys Williams was sent home from international duty as a precaution on Tuesday.

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Williams, 19, was not among the squad to face Albania in Wolverhampton amid a hip problem but is set to be fit in time for Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool welcome Premier League leaders Leicester City to Anfield on Sunday.

“He had a very minor stiff hip,” Boothroyd said. “It was in his best interests to get him back to Liverpool. 

“With all the players, if there’s any potential injuries or niggles then our medical staff is in contact with the club.

“Rhys wasn’t actually on the bench so I thought the best thing was to get him back to Liverpool.”

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According to The Mail, Liverpool are expected to go with a preferred central defensive pairing of Nathaniel Phillips and Joel Matip against Brendan Rodgers’ league leaders at the weekend meaning Williams is likely to start against Atalanta next Wednesday.

Phillips, 23, was not registered by Liverpool for their Champions League group stage squad as the club were convinced that the Bolton-born defender would leave in the summer transfer window with a number of Championship clubs previously interested according to The ECHO.

Club captain Jordan Henderson is a doubt to face Leicester after coming off for England against Belgium at the weekend with tightness in his leg, while Trent Alexander-Arnold is also available following a calf problem sustained during the 1-1 draw with Manchester City earlier this month.

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The defence is hanging by a thread with all four of Liverpool’s first-choice defensive quartet a doubt for the weekend after Andy Robertson suffered a hamstring scare while on national team duty with Scotland.

Thiago Alcantara and Fabinho’s fitness levels both continue to raise questions after the midfield duo were both absent from Liverpool’s Tuesday training session at Kirkby.

The former is still yet to play for Liverpool since he fell victim to a knee injury after a horror-tackle from Everton forward Richarlison.

Meanwhile, Mohamed Salah is also set to miss Sunday’s match as he isolates after testing positive for COVID-19.

Williams could still be named as a substitute for Sunday’s clash at Anfield although the Champions League clash a weed today represents his next best option of making only his fourth start in Liverpool colours.

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