Rhys Williams says he was 'over the moon' having starred at the back for Liverpool as they delivered an attacking masterclass in their 5-0 demolition of Atalanta on Wednesday night.
The youngster was confident on the ball and didn't let La Dea have a sniff at goal for much of the game, with the Reds keeping a clean sheet on the road against the usually prolific side from Bergamo.
Playing alongside fellow Englishman Joe Gomez at centre-back, he reassured Liverpool fans that their injury-struck back line remains in capable hands as he delivered a dominant defensive performance.
Speaking to Liverpool's official website after the win in Italy, the 19-year-old said: "I’m happy the boss trusts me and I’m going to keep repaying his faith with performances and nights like this, so hopefully I keep getting an opportunity and keep doing everyone proud.
"I want to become an irreplaceable piece of this side. It's a great team with great players. I know it’s going to be hard but I’m willing to put the effort in, keep working and hopefully keep putting in performances when I get the chance."
Asked whether it was the best night of his young life so far, he added: "Yes, so far – and hopefully there’s many more to come. It doesn’t get much better than a 5-0 away win to Atalanta, so I’m over the moon really.
"Every time we went forward we looked like scoring but me, Joe, Ali, the back four – the entire team really – just pulled together and kept them out."
Williams inevitably received plaudits from his manager, as Jurgen Klopp hailed his 'exceptional' display against a side known for their attacking acumen.
He said: “Exceptional. I cannot imagine being 19 and playing in the Champions League against Zapata, it’s incredible.
“I couldn’t be more happy for Rhys. You should see him in the dressing room, you’d need something special to get the smile off his face!"
The young centre-half has demonstrated a winning mentality and has tasted success with the youth setup at Melwood in the past. 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.
Though he's only recently started training with the first team, it is highly likely that Williams will be filling in at the back on a regular basis this season in Van Dijk's absence.
If he can cement his place with a strong run in cup games, it'll give Klopp a welcome selection headache once his more established options return from injury.