Liverpool appears set to repeat their big mistake from 2020. It’s a risk they probably shouldn’t be taking.
The Athletic claims Neco Williams is set to leave Liverpool. He wants out, citing first-team football as the reason.
It’s hard to argue against his motive. Williams is behind Trent Alexander-Arnold in the pecking order and will likely never get ahead of him. His place at Liverpool is that of a backup and without much room for growth.
If he wants to improve as a player – and we believe he has a very high ceiling – Williams likely does have to move on. And the Athletic believe several Premier League clubs will line up to take him on.
They name Leeds United, Southampton, Aston Villa and Burnley as teams who asked about Williams over the last 12 months. Now they apparently just need to pay £10m and he’s theirs.
So where does that leave Liverpool? Williams is their no.2 right-back and they’d be a man down without him.
Are Liverpool making a big mistake?
The Athletic’s article claims Liverpool will replace Williams internally. They’ll back Joe Gomez to cover Alexander-Arnold, while Conor Bradley is their long-term project.
That’s all very risky. In fact, it reminds us of a year ago when Liverpool opted not to replace Dejan Lovren as fourth-choice centre-back.
The Reds instead went into the season with just Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip, and Gomez as their centre-back options. Fabinho then covered from midfield.
Only, both Gomez and Matip had long-term injury concerns. The former had suffered multiple lengthy absences before and the latter had battled problems over the previous 12 months.
As it turned out, all of the proper centre-backs picked up season-ending problems. It completely ruined Liverpool’s season, eliminating them from any real contention for trophies.
We’re worried they’re about to do the same at right-back. For one, there are even more concerns over Gomez’s fitness than there were a year ago. Can he really be proper cover?
Then there’s the fact that Alexander-Arnold is literally injured right now. Liverpool would be taking a big chance on backing both players to be fit all season.
Especially when right-back is such an important part of the team. The full-backs offer the width and creativity in the team and do it at an elite level.
Gomez is already a massive downgrade in that regard as he’s not a natural full-back. And that’s before you consider the fitness concerns.
This is a chance Liverpool took last year and paid an enormous price. They may pay it again.