It’s been a banner year for these Reds, and not just the senior players. Because of fixture congestion and poor planning (thanks, EFL and FA), the youngsters have been able to prove themselves for the first team.
Some players—right back Neco Williams definitely among them—have come out looking capable of taking that next, big step. Although Williams has a Trent Alexander-Arnold shaped roadblock ahead of him, he is at least putting himself into consideration to occasionally deputize for the star fullback.
In fact, it was Williams’ cross that forced the decisive own goal last time out against Shrewsbury Town. And U23s coach Neil Critchley was full of praise for him.
“It was a brilliant bit of play but that’s Neco,” Critchley said in an interview. I thought he was incredible on the evening.
“He was everywhere on the pitch, he was defending, intercepting, running forward and you’d have to say he was also probably our most dangerous attacker from full-back.
“He had three or four shots at goal and I thought he was fantastic.
“[On the goal] That was the message we said to the boys at half-time. You could say there was some luck involved in the goal but also one of our messages was we need to look in behind their defence a bit more.
“We told them to search the space in behind and we need to have runners to do that. It was a little bit of fortune how it happened but also I’d like to think the boys had taken on the message at half-time.”
Of course, halftime adjustments are something the first team does especially well, and it’s heartening to see that this is happening throughout the club.
Sure, the defender really should have done better on the cross, but pressure can often lead to costly mistakes.
If Liverpool continue to progress on all fronts, there’s a good chance that Williams continues making the occasional first team appearance. And when he does, it will be deserved.