Liverpool hit by ANOTHER defensive injury scare as Rhys Williams is left out of England U21 side to face Albania ‘with a stiff hip’, leaving Jurgen Klopp sweating over his fitness before Sunday’s showdown with Leicester
- Rhys Williams was left out by England U21s as a precaution due to a minor issue
- The 19-year-old has played five times for Liverpool so far across the season
- After Joe Gomez’s injury, his fitness is more important than ever for Liverpool
Liverpool have been dealt yet another injury scare in defence with centre-back Rhys Williams left out of England’s Under 21 squad to face Albania on Tuesday night.
England Under 21 boss Aidy Bothroyd said the 19-year-old was sent back to Liverpool with a small hip problem.
‘He had a very minor stiff hip,’ Bothroyd said. ‘It was in his best interests to get him back to Liverpool.
Rhys Williams was left out of the England U21 squad to face Albania on Tuesday night
The news will alarm Jurgen Klopp – pictured on Tuesday at Liverpool’s new training base
‘With all the players, if there’s any potential injuries or niggles then our medical staff is in contact with the club.
‘Rhys wasn’t actually on the bench (anyway) so I thought the best thing was to get him back to Liverpool.’
But the news will undoubtedly be a concern for Jurgen Klopp after Joe Gomez sustained what is likely to be a season-ending injury with the senior England side last week, while Virgil van Dijk is set to miss the 2020-21 campaign.
If fit enough, Williams will likely be named as a substitute for Sunday’s clash against Premier League leaders Leicester, with Nathaniel Phillips set to start alongside Joel Matip.
Williams is in Liverpool’s Champions League squad but Phillips is not, meaning Klopp will have to rotate the two for their domestic and European campaigns.
Liverpool’s next Champions League game is next Wednesday, against Atalanta at Anfield. Victory would seal their place in the knock-out stages of the tournament.
Williams has made five appearances for Liverpool this season under Klopp’s guidance
Williams has filled in for the injured Fabinho and Virgil van Dijk in the Champions League
The 2020-21 season has signalled a phenomenal rise for Williams, who before the first Covid-19 lockdown was on loan at National League North side Kidderminster Harriers.
After returning to Liverpool and impressing Klopp in a limited pre-season, he has stepped up and made five appearances so far – two in the EFL Cup and three in the Champions League.
Injuries permitting, he will have more of a look-in in the coming months as Klopp tries to juggle a packed fixture list with limited defensive options.
At present, as well as Gomez and Van Dijk on the sidelines, Fabinho is recovering from a hamstring injury. The Brazil midfielder has already proven himself as an adept centre-back and his absence further exposes Klopp’s less experienced back-up.