Home sports Jurgen Klopp hails ‘exceptional and incredible’ Rhys Williams after Liverpool hammer Atalanta

Jurgen Klopp hails ‘exceptional and incredible’ Rhys Williams after Liverpool hammer Atalanta

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Jurgen Klopp hails ‘exceptional and incredible’ Rhys Williams after Liverpool hammer Atalanta


Jurgen Klopp was delighted with Liverpool’s performance at Atalanta (Picture: Getty Images)

Jurgen Klopp hailed the performance of teenage defender Rhys Williams as he started in Liverpool 5-0 walloping of Atalanta in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

The Reds were in scintillating form as Diogo Jota scored a hat-trick and both Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah got on the scoresheet in a resounding victory in Bergamo.

Although Jota will grab most of the headlines, Klopp was also thrilled with the performance of Williams as his defence covers for the injuries suffered by Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho and Joel Matip.

The 19-year-old started at centre-back alongside Joe Gomez as Liverpool kept their third straight clean sheet in the Champions League and Klopp was thoroughly impressed.

‘Starting with Rhys – exceptional,’ Klopp said after the comprehensive win in Bergamo. ‘I cannot imagine being 19 years old and playing my second adult professional football game in the Champions League against [Luis] Muriel and [Daniel] Zapata, or most of the time against Zapata.

‘It’s incredible. I would have been nervous like hell. The boys are not, that helps massively.

‘But defending is obviously a common thing and how the team defended tonight was absolutely incredible.

‘When you leave the last line alone, which we did from time to time, not on purpose but because of thinking things are always going well, in the end we win the challenges anyway. ‘

Rhys Williams has impressed in central defence for Liverpool (Picture: Getty Images)

Liverpool have now won all five games since the Merseyside derby that Van Dijk limped out of with a damaged Anterior Cruciate Ligament.

Klopp is thrilled that his regular defenders and newcomers have stepped up to fill the void left by the stricken Dutchman.

‘We had to change that obviously because Virg is not there anymore and so that means if you share that responsibility now, if you put it on 10 shoulders instead of on one, then it can work out,’ he said.

‘Tonight it was incredibly good what the last line did, supported by all the others. But everybody has to step up now because Robbo [Andy Robertson] and Trent [Alexander-Arnold] and Joe [Gomez], they are now in charge.

‘Whoever plays with them – if it’s Joel [Matip] it’s different – but if one of the younger ones plays with them, they are the most experienced and they have to demand and command the things in that line.

‘So it was really nice to see and I couldn’t be more happy for Rhys because you should see him in the dressing room – you’d probably need something special to hit the smile out of his face, it’s probably not possible. It’s really great to see.’


MORE : Rio Ferdinand names Liverpool as one of two favourites to win the Champions League


MORE : Diogo Jota has usurped Roberto Firmino at Liverpool with Atalanta hat-trick, reckon Michael Owen and Peter Crouch

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