Sir Kenny Dalglish has tipped Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips for success at Liverpool amid the ongoing defensive injury crisis.
As it stands, Jurgen Klopp is without Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Fabinho, with Joel Matip just making his return.
It’s a dire situation for the boss, but there is a glimmer of hope because youthful duo Williams and Phillips have shown they’re capable of being called upon.
Dalglish is confident in the centre-back pair and had cited their desire to play for the senior team as a key reason they’ll do a good job.
“It’s difficult for anybody to step in, but at 19 years of age Williams didn’t do too badly against Atalanta,” the Scot told the Liverpool Echo.
“He was there and stood up – the first header he cleared everybody out and made sure it was his – and Nat Phillips did well in the game at Anfield as well.
“Whether they’re ready long-term it remains to be seen, but Nat was over in Germany on loan last season and did really well so maybe he is a little bit more experienced.
“As I say, though, you’ve got a couple of choices there – they’ll want to play.
“It might not be perfect timing for them because the next game is difficult against Leicester but Jurgen gets most of his decisions right and I have no doubt he’ll get this one right too.”
Praise for the young defenders doesn’t come from a higher place than King Kenny himself, so they’ll be buzzing with this vote of confidence alone.
Both Williams and Phillips have shown they’re capable of stepping in and taking on some of the burden – but they’re yet to prove they can do it long-term, as Dalglish said.
Fabinho is expected to make his return for Liverpool against Leicester City next weekend, but we’re yet to see footage of him at Kirkby.
Matip is pretty much nailed-on to start against the Premier League leaders, but who will partner him is anyone’s guess – but, crucially, Klopp’s call.