Rhys Williams admitted to receiving a message from Jurgen Klopp during a breakout campaign in Liverpool that left him intimidated, and also admitted that he felt nervous ahead of the Reds’ Premier League hitting debut.
First time playing at pro-level
While making a competition bow to reigning champions in the Carabao Cup clash with Lincoln in September 2020. He saw Champions League performances on the flip side of this, like injury problems at Anfield, and now has 13 performances to his name across all options with the confidence of a demanding coach earning him.
Van Dijk motivates players
While Klopp showed faith in Williams, he said of the fear that direct contact from the German still encourages those at his disposal: “I would probably say the captain or maybe Virg are the most active in chat. Obviously Van Dijk hasn’t played with his injury, so before every game he wishes all the boys good luck and everything. And midfielder Jordan Henderson is the one who always answers first. Recently there was one message from Klopp “can you come and see me.” I was scared! But it was just to talk about some of the things I could do better in games, so it was nothing to worry about. But I was nervous.”
Despite his lack of experience in the senior scene, the Anfield academy graduate achieved admirable success after being cast in the deep end. He provided cover for the likes of Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, with the untimely knocks that center-back opponents experienced when seeing the door open for the young man on a regular basis. Williams added after seeing more playing time that he had envisioned this season with the first Premier League appearance at Tottenham on December 16: “I was nervous because I didn’t start first, I was on the bench. And then Joel Matip had to play. He had back problems, so the boss and coach of the first team came to me and said, ‘Get ready, because you’re starting, Joel failed the fitness test.’ So it was, say, five or six hours before practice, and I had to pull myself together because this was my first Premier League game with Harry Kane and Heung-min Son at the top. I was nervous, but the boys helped me through this.”