Neco Williams stands out as inexperienced Reds squeeze past Gunners on penalties

The 18-year-old was making his debut for the first team, but looked like a seasoned pro at right-back in a crazy Anfield affair

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Liverpool beat Arsenal 5-4 on penalties after drawing 5-5 in 90 minutes. The Carabao Cup fixture went straight to stop kicks after the two sides could not be separated in normal time.

There were certainly goals at Anfield as Klopp sent out an inexperienced side mixed with a few first-team names. Liverpool went 1-0 up early on courtesy of a Shkodran Mustafi own-goal. Arsenal then equalised through Lucas Torreira. Gabriel Martinelli struck twice to make it 3-1 before James Milner pulled one back from the penalty spot — and that was only the first half!

The second began with Arsenal increasing their lead through Ainsley Maitland-Niles. Liverpool struck back as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain hit one from range into the roof of the net, before Divock Origi equalised to level the scores at four apiece.


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Just eight minutes later Joe Willock found the top corner from distance to make it 5-4. It looked over but, in the dying moments of the game, Klopp’s side pulled it back once again thanks to Origi again and the player who stood out on the night, Neco Williams.

It was the young Welshman’s senior debut and he performed excellently throughout. The full-back was the Reds’ best defender on the night and outperformed his senior teammates Milner and Joe Gomez.

Williams won all four of his tackles and also won nine out of his 13 ground duels. The right-back completed three interceptions as well as clearing the ball three times. It was a great defensive performance from the debutant.

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As mentioned, the 18-year-old was also involved in the final goal of normal time. The academy star did well to get to the byline before swinging in an accurate cross to Divock Origi. The Belgian put the ball in the net at the Kop End to send the game to penalties.

It was a night to remember for the youngster as he put in a fantastic display on his debut, at Anfield and against a more experienced Arsenal side. It’s a tough road ahead for the Welshman in terms of a breakthrough into the first team, however.

The likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez and James Milner can all play that right back role, but if he gets more chances to play and puts in similar performances like that, it may not be long until Neco Williams is a regular name in Jürgen Klopp’s squad.