Liverpool suffered a surprise 2-0 defeat to Atalanta in the Champions League on Wednesday night to bring an end to their perfect start to the 2020/21 European campaign.
The Reds had won all three of their opening games in Group D, including a 5-0 win against the Serie A side away from home.
However, Gian Piero Gasperini’s side were clearly out for revenge on Wednesday night and produced a superb display to take all three points, after goals from Josep Ilicic and Robin Gosens.
One man’s performance that will have concerned Jurgen Klopp was that of Neco Williams, with the Welsh international struggling throughout the game.
As per SofaScore, the 19-year-old picked up a 6.5 rating for his display, with only Sadio Mane, Divock Origi and Konstantinos Tsimikas rated lower of the Liverpool players who started the game.
The right-back lost possession a remarkable 27 times during the game, which was the most of any Reds player on the pitch.
Williams has established himself as a trusted member of Klopp’s side in recent seasons, having made 16 appearances (ahead of Wednesday’s game) for the first-team now, in which he has contributed no goals and two assists (per Transfermarkt).
Considering Trent Alexander-Arnold is currently sidelined through injury, Williams is likely to have a lot more game time in the coming weeks, but he will need to improve on this performance if he wants to keep his spot in the starting 11.
The Welshman saw a lot of the ball against the Italian side but was unable to have much impact going forward, as none of his three crosses on the evening found their mark, whilst only two of his 11 attempted long balls found a Liverpool shirt.
54 of Williams’ 70 attempted passes found their target, resulting in a pass accuracy rate of 74%, suggesting that his passing could have been a lot better on the night too.
The right-back wasn’t too bad defensively, however, as he won five out of nine of his ground duels, whilst he also made five interceptions during the 90 minutes.
Alexander-Arnold was full of praise for the academy talent earlier this year, saying:
“Neco is an amazing talent, he is someone who we all look to as being someone who can play for the club for a long amount of time and will have a bright future no matter what.”
“I think he is on the right path, for sure. Mentally, he’s ahead of people his age, he’s getting the right experience in training; playing against the best players in the world can only improve you.” (per Liverpool FC)
However, he did little to repay the England international’s faith in him on Wednesday night and it will perhaps not be a surprise if Klopp opts to start James Milner at right-back in the Reds’ next game, after his impressive performance in the win against Leicester City last weekend.
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