Rhys Williams is full of praise for Roberto Firmino
Liverpool defender Rhys Williams has named Roberto Firmino as his toughest opponent in training with the Reds.
Williams joined Championship club Swansea City on a season-long loan last summer with the hope of earning regular playing time. However, the 21-year-old prematurely returned to Merseyside in January after making just seven appearances for the Welsh club.
The centre-back is now back with Barry Lewtas’ Under-23s side at Liverpool. He also spends a significant amount of time with Jurgen Klopp’s senior team, training with the likes of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Luis Diaz.
Despite facing Salah, Mane and Diaz in training, nobody has troubled Williams like Firmino has. The Englishman has explained that the 30-year-old is a ‘nightmare’ to play against as he is hard to defend. He told GOAL:
“Playing against him [Firmino] is an absolute nightmare! You either have to leave him to drop off and then he turns and makes you look stupid, or you go out with him and then someone is in behind you getting a ball over the top off Robbo [Andy Robertson] or Trent [Alexander-Arnold].”“But then if you get there a split-second too late, he’s going to turn you. You have to arrive as he is taking a touch and try to knock him, make him take a bad touch or knock it back into midfield where someone can nick it. That’s the only way to defend him.”
Firmino has been a key player for Liverpool since joining them from Hoffenheim in 2015. However, there are doubts about the Brazilian’s future at Anfield as he has his contract expiring at the end of next season.
The forward has scored 11 goals and provided four assists from 31 appearances across all competitions this season. It remains to be seen if that is enough to warrant him a new deal at the club.
What lies ahead for Williams at Liverpool?
Williams signed a new long-term deal before joining Swansea on loan last summer. It is thus believed that the 21-year-old defender has a place in Liverpool’s future plans.
However, with the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip, Ibrahima Konate and Joe Gomez ahead of him, playing time is hard to come by at Anfield for Williams. Another loan move could thus be on the cards for him.
It is worth noting that Williams was named on the bench for the first leg of Liverpool’s Champions League semi-final tie against Villarreal last month. It remains to be seen if he will feature for Klopp’s side this term.