This article is part of Football FanCast’s In The Pipeline series, which takes a look at some of the most promising young talent either linked with clubs or emerging from their academies…
Trent Alexander-Arnold has consolidated his place at right-back in the last year-and-a-bit, and rightly so.
The 21-year-old has become one of Liverpool’s most creative forces, even though he appears in defence. Last season, he picked up a team-topping 16 assists in all competitions. He has carried on that form this term, as well, with four to his name so far.
Such is his ability to provide chances for his teammates, there have been calls for the England international to move into the centre of midfield. There have even been comparisons with Manchester City star Kevin de Bruyne, as well. Whilst there has been no indication from Jurgen Klopp that he plans to change his position, it could be something we see in the future.
Perhaps the reason for him staying on the right side of the defence is the lack of alternative options. James Milner, ever the utility man, has filled in there on occasion, but he is not a natural, whilst Nathaniel Clyne is on the sidelines for the foreseeable future with a cruciate ligament injury.
In Neco Williams, though, the Reds have someone who could be ready to fill in the void.
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The 18-year-old has caught the eye in recent weeks. He made his debut against Arsenal in the Carabao Cup at the end of October in a game that will live long in the memory. The match ended 5-5 and it was thanks to the teenager’s assist that Divock Origi was able to level up proceedings and take the game to a penalty shoot-out.
His attacking ability is amongst his biggest assets. Whilst with the Wales U19s during the international break, he scored three goals in two games. He also scored in the EFL Trophy for the Anfield outfit’s U23s, and he picked up an assist in the Premier League 2 to add to that one against the Gunners.
He struggled with injury in the 2017/18 season, but he has rediscovered his form and has now made himself known to Klopp. Steven Gerrard, the club legend who previously worked with Liverpool’s academy, said he was “magnificent”. Recommendations don’t come much better than that.
He does have competition for a future right-back role, with Ki-Jana Hoever also available to the former Borussia Dortmund manager in that position. However, given the way he performed against one of the biggest clubs in England in that stunning League Cup match, there is every chance he could leave the U17 Netherlands international in his wake.