Although there were some superb performances all over the pitch, one man that particularly stood out was Neco Williams.
The youngster’s deep cross resulted in the only goal of the game as Ro-Shaun Williams headed the ball into his own net. However, he was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet himself - going wide and sending a volley over the bar in the early moments of the match.
Thanks to his performance on the pitch, his night at Anfield won’t be forgotten by supporters anytime soon, but what else should you know about Liverpool’s latest wonderkid?
Who Is He?
So, first things first, who exactly is Neco Williams? Well, he’s an 18-year-old right back from Wrexham in north Wales, who joined the Liverpool academy at the tender age of six.
Since then, he has made his way up the ranks – representing the Reds at the Under-18s, Under-19s and Under-21s.
He currently plays most of his games for the Liverpool Under-23s as well as playing a huge role in the UEFA Youth League this campaign. However, in recent times, he has also travelled with the first team, making the bench for the Club World Cup back in December.
Williams made his first-team debut just a few months prior in October 2019, where he faced Arsenal in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup – providing a memorable assist for Divock Origi, with the Reds winning on penalties against the Gunners.
What’s His Youth Background?
As previously mentioned, the full back joined Liverpool when he was just six years old, beginning his club journey at the Under-9s level.
He made his Under-18s debut in the 2016/2017 campaign while he was still at school and has since become a regular starter at right back.
Although he was ruled out of the beginning of the 2017/18 season with a back injury, he made a strong comeback – securing his debut for the Under-23s later that year. Williams was also part of the team who won the FA Youth Cup in 2019, netting a penalty against Manchester City in the final shootout.
On the international scene, the Welshman currently represents his country in the Under-19s and has been tipped for a senior call-up soon.
Who’s He Got for Competition?
As the youngster loves going forward and putting crosses into the box (something we all witnessed on Tuesday evening), his most obvious competition is, of course, Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Not only was Williams solid in defence against Shrewsbury, but he also showed off his superb attacking abilities – creating chances for his teammates and conjuring up a few shots himself.
It’s, therefore, no wonder that Liverpool fans are already drawing comparisons between him and their beloved homegrown right-back.
What Are His First Team Prospects?
With Alexander-Arnold arguably the best right back in the league (and even the planet), how exactly does Williams fit into the first team set-up alongside the English international?
One option long-term would be to try the 18-year-old further upfield, ahead of Alexander-Arnold. Williams has played as an attacking midfielder and winger in the past so it’s not a position the defender is unfamiliar with.
He’s also played in right midfield in both the UEFA Youth League and the EFL Trophy this season, making it a worthy choice for the future.
However, according to recent reports, Williams will start next season as Liverpool's second-choice right back, with the club opting against looking to sign another player in that position.