All of the young Liverpool players on the pitch in the League Cup match against Arsenal immediately went to celebrate with Neco Williams after Divock Origi scored the equaliser, taking the game to penalties. It was Williams who crossed the ball into the box, registering the 18-year-old with an assist for Liverpool and he was mobbed by his Academy mates.
The entire team congregated around Williams in that rapturous moment. Liverpool went on to win and it was a fantastic showing for the young crew that Jürgen Klopp and Pep Lijinders have coming through the Melwood ranks.
Williams recently spoke about that night at Anfield and the wealth of confidence he has thanks to Klopp’s guidance.
“To make your debut for Liverpool at Anfield - it’s a dream come true,” Williams said.
“The day before the game the manager came up to me and said, ‘You are starting.’ He gave me the ‘Jurgen talk’. He said to enjoy it, play with a smile on your face and be confident.
”He is a great manager. People can see that from how well Liverpool’s first team are doing. To top it off he gives youngsters an opportunity.”
The young right back is largely up against Sadio Mané in training and gets the full brunt of what a world class footballer can do on a regular basis. Williams also has the benefit of training with another right back and Liverpool Academy graduate just ahead of him in development. Trent Alexander-Arnold is ideal player for Williams to have around and to glean skills from.
Neco hopes that he can one day follow the same path that Trent has taken. And with Klopp and Lijinders leading the charge for Liverpool’s talented youth program, I’d say that Williams and plenty of others have a decent shot at becoming very exciting professional players.
“I look up to Trent because he was at the academy from the age of six or seven, the same as me,” said Williams.
”I watch videos of Trent. When I train with the senior team I try to watch the things he does and then work on them.
“He has gone through all the stages and now he is classed as one of the best right-backs in the world. It shows that with hard work and dedication it can happen.”