Rhys Williams could face Manchester United later today. If he does, he has to learn from his mistake against Aston Villa last time out.
We don’t know yet if Joel Matip can start against Manchester United. He hasn’t played any of Liverpool’s last few games and only returned to training yesterday.
That’s a very short turnaround to start such a big game. Ideally, Liverpool take the risk but they may feel Matip isn’t up to it.
And in that case, Rhys Williams will surely start against United. There’s a chance Jordan Henderson returns to defence but that would weaken the midfield quite considerably.
It just doesn’t feel worth it.
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But Williams did perform well against Tottenham Hotspur and that likely earns him the backup position today. If he plays, though, he has to learn from his mistake last time out.
Williams played against Aston Villa’s youth side in the FA Cup last week. Villa, quite ridiculously, managed to score in that game.
It came from Williams stepping up to high and when Liverpool’s press didn’t do its job, he was caught out.
His high line left space for Villa to exploit, a ball in behind followed, and Williams couldn’t catch his man. Goal.
That is a mistake you just can’t make against United. They thrive on the counter-attack, trying to exploit runs in behind constantly.
Edinson Cavani is smart enough to find those runs. Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial have too much pace.
Williams, then, has to drop back and be careful. If he shows an inability to learn from his mistake against Villa, Liverpool will pay with a defeat.
It’s a lot of pressure to put on a 19-year-old, of course. Unfortunately, there’s no way around it. Ideally, he wouldn’t play but injuries thrust him into the game.
Hopefully, he can use it to prove he’s able to learn at the highest level. Do that and Liverpool can feel very confident about using Williams going forward this season.