Jurgen Klopp is delighted that Liverpool have finalised the contract extension of Neco Williams.
The young right-back emerged from obscurity last season into becoming a genuine rotation option for Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Many Reds hadn’t heard much of the Welshman before Christmas, and if anything, would have predicted Ki-Jana Hoever as the most likely defender to make the grade next, but Williams’ improvement was huge and as a result, we don’t need to enter the transfer market for another right-back for many years.
“Neco from the first day he trained with us, he trained like a machine. Every day he became better and better and better and I thought, ‘OK, what’s that?!’ Unfortunately then, in the moment he started playing for us, I saw it, he got a little physical knock, like it was always really intense all of the time. But then he had to play,” the boss told the official website.
“The last game of the season against Newcastle is a really good example – first half, struggled slightly, [but] second half he was there.
“That’s exactly him in the moment and there is so much positivity about this kid that I am really happy we have him here. That’s very important for me because he is our boy and it is the perfect place for him in the moment because we don’t rush his career.
“We want to prepare him for his career, yes, and in his position in which he will probably play, there is a really, really good player in that position. But Trent cannot – and should not and never did – play 500 games a season, so we need to have options there. Neco is as close as possible for his age group.
“He has a lot of things that we really like, so I am really, really happy that he signed this contract.”
Williams is pacy, a great dribbler and can swing a cross in, too.
Defensively, he’s a little suspect at the moment, but so was Trent Alexander-Arnold when the Scouser was breaking through.
Now, he’s the best on the planet by some distance. If Williams continues his development at the current rate, it also provides Klopp a good reason in the future to potentially move Trent into midfield.
That’s not something we want to happen imminently (after all, if it’s not broken, why fix it?), but with Hendo in his thirties, that spot on the right of Klopp’s midfield three might start looking attractive to Trent at some stage!