Williams intends to become ‘irreplaceable’ at Liverpool after stepping into Van Dijk void
Rhys Williams is only five games into his senior Liverpool career, but the 19-year-old – who has been charged with the task of covering for the injured Virgil van Dijk – is already planning on becoming “irreplaceable”.
Jurgen Klopp has shown considerable faith in a product of the Reds’ famed academy system.
He had been slotted in alongside commanding centre-half Van Dijk for early-season Carabao Cup outings.
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Williams is now stepping into the Dutchman’s shoes after an unfortunate knee ligament injury robbed the reigning Premier League champions of one of their most prized assets.
The talented teenager was handed a Champions League start for the Reds against Atalanta and offered enough in a 5-0 win to suggest that he could become as important as Van Dijk in the future.
“Well, I was hoping for an opportunity but I wasn’t hoping for it as good as this!” Williams told Liverpool’s official website when reflecting on his European bow.
“It doesn’t get much better than a 5-0 away win to Atalanta, so I’m over the moon really.
“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.”
While Williams can relax slightly after helping Klopp’s side to three points and a clean sheet against Atalanta, he admits to having had trouble sleeping in the build-up to the biggest occasion of his fledgling career.
He added: “I’d say (Tuesday) I found out, that certified it.
“So I was just trying to get myself into the zone all day and thankfully I’ve done that and it’s paid off.
“I tried to go to leep when we had a few hours before the game and it just wasn’t happening for me, so I just tried to chill out and watch a few films.
“I was always going to be a bit nervous but I thought I dealt with it quite well.”
Williams will be hoping to retain his starting berth for Liverpool’s next outing, which is set to see them face fellow title hopefuls Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.