Forget Firmino: “Exceptional” Liverpool beast who won 100% duels was Klopp’s true hero – opinion

Liverpool returned to the top of the Premier League table after earning a huge 2-1 win against Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday night.

Roberto Firmino’s late header secured the three points for Jurgen Klopp’s side and whilst the Brazilian will earn a lot of deserved plaudits, the performance of young Rhys Williams should not go unnoticed.

The 19-year-old was making his Premier League debut and he couldn’t have asked for a much sterner test at Anfield, as he was up against the in-form Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son, with the duo having been standout performers in the top-flight so far this season.

However, Williams showed his quality throughout the match and rarely looked overawed on what was undoubtedly a huge occasion for the academy graduate.

As per SofaScore, the centre-back earned an impressive 7.2 rating for his display on Wednesday with only four Reds players rated higher.

During the game, the youngster won all seven of his duels, which is incredibly impressive when you consider the experience and physicality of Kane.

He also made two clearances and two interceptions, highlighting his defensive contribution against Jose Mourinho’s side, whilst he wasn’t dribbled past all during the 90 minutes, suggesting he was well on top against the Spurs attackers.

Williams’ passing could have been slightly more accurate, as he lost possession 11 times during the game but his overall performance was absolutely superb and he has shown that in the absence of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, he can definitely fill in at centre-back in Klopp’s side.

Earlier in the season, when he impressed in the 5-0 win against Atalanta, the German manager was full of praise for the defender, saying:

“We can start with Rhys – exceptional.

“I cannot imagine being 19-years-old and playing my second professional soccer game in the Champions League against Duvan Zapata, it’s incredible!

“I would have been nervous as hell, but the boy was not. Defending is obviously a common thing, and how the team defended tonight was absolutely incredible.”

It was a superb overall performance from the youngster and considering the impressive displays from a lot of Liverpool youngsters so far this season, perhaps a second successive title win is on the cards, despite the sheer number of injuries they have picked up in 2020.

It will be interesting to see if Williams keeps his place in the starting XI for the Reds’ next game, which sees them take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

And, in other news… Liverpool handed transfer blow in pursuit of “gem” loved by Lothar Matthaus

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