Things to know about Liverpool's 'Baby Van Dijk'

Liverpool crashed out from the English League Cup on Thursday night with a penalty shootout defeat against Arsenal after the game could not be decided in 90 minutes. 

Despite the fact that Liverpool had the batter game of the two sides, they could not beat Bernd Leno, who was at the top of his game but there were plenty of positives for the Reds even in the defeat. 

The Liverpool side that started the game against Arsenal was a blend of experience and youth and a number of young players impressed big time. However, the player who impressed the most was 19-year-old central defender Rhys Williams. 

Despite being just 19 years of age, Williams certainly has a lot of composure and looked at ease against a team like Arsenal. While most people expected Jurgen Klopp to sign a senior defender with Dejan Lovren departing the club, the German did not explore his options in the transfer market and Williams could well be the reason behind it. 

As it seems, the 19-year-old has made his place ahead of his fellow youngsters Billy Koumetio and Sepp van den Berg in the pecking order. 

In this article, we will discuss the things to know about the England under-19 international.

Virgil van Dijk is his role model 

Every young and aspiring footballer needs someone to look up to and in case of Rhys Williams, he is lucky enough to train with his role model every day. Virgil van Dijk is arguably the finest centre-back in the world right now and the way he makes defending look easy is something to learn from and Rhys Williams has not let the opportunity slip away to learn from his idol. It is evident in his game that the youngster is extremely confident on the ball and hardly panics which means he is certainly heading the right way. 

Speaking to Liverpool's official website, the 19-year-old said: "He's so calm and confident in what he does. You don't see him panicking in big situations. He's just a great role model for everyone. I watch all the Liverpool games and he's the main player I focus on. If they do analysis after the game and it's on him, then I'll record it or watch it there and then just to see if I can take bits of his game into mine." 

Image credits - Rousing The Kop

Tasted silverware with Liverpool

Having been at Liverpool since he was nine years of age, Williams is a Red through and through, the club's belief is clearly high in him. The Preston-born starlet also recently signed a five-year contract to keep him at Anfield until 2025. 

Coming through the youth ranks, he has already tasted success with the Reds as he was part of the Liverpool team that won the FA Youth Cup in 2019, defeating Manchester City in the final on penalties after the game ended 1-1. It was the first time that the Reds had won the tournament since 2007. 

Williams knows what it means to wear the famous red jersey and has broken into the first-team at a time when Liverpool are once again looking to become the most dominant force in English football. He still has a long way to go but the 19-year-old is clearly on the right track. 

England youth international 

Despite his very much Welsh-sounding name, Williams has been capped by England at both under-18 and under-19 level and big things are expected of him in the future. He has also played alongside some noteworthy names for the Young Lions like Arsenal's Bukayo Saka as well as his Liverpool teammate Curtis Jones. 

Also, he has been endorsed by England and Liverpool legend John Barnes as the two-time FWA Footballer of the Year tipped him to have a bright future for the Reds. As quoted by The Mirror, Barnes said: "If people go then you have to replace them to get the squad good, but Liverpool have Curtis Jones, Rhys Williams, Harvey Elliott and other young players."

Featured image credits - HITC

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