Jurgen Klopp accuses Liverpool squad of failing to protect Neco Williams on his full Premier League debut


Neco Williams was taken off at half-time (Picture: Getty)

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said he had no choice but to take Neco Williams off at half-time on his full Premier League debut against Brighton after accusing his side of failing to protect the 19-year-old.

Williams was a surprise starter at the Amex Stadium and the teenager impressed in the opening 45 minutes.

However, as is to be expected, the defender had a couple of questionable moments and he picked up a yellow card for a foul on Tariq Lamptey.

Williams made another foul shortly before half-time and was therefore walking a tight-rope if he was to make it through the second half.


With the teenager clearly desperate to impress, Klopp didn’t feel that he could ask the defender to stop making challenges and felt it was necessary to take him off.

However, the German insists he was delighted with Williams’ performance and says the rest of the team didn’t do a good enough job of protecting the youngster.


WIlliams was yellow carded shortly before half-time (Picture: Getty)

‘I know football is like this,’ said Klopp.

‘If you take a player off after 45 minutes then everybody thinks it’s not good for the player but actually I don’t care about this it was just that he had a yellow card and the situation on that side was that we didn’t protect him well enough.

‘There was one or two times that they [Brighton] could really go through there so Neco it was his first professional game I cannot tell him don’t do a challenge anymore so that was the reason, the only reason.

‘We could bring Robbo [Andy Robertson] on so it was all good. I like a lot [Williams’ performance], he’s confident and all this stuff and in two situations with a yellow card and the other foul situation he will learn that it’s absolutely no problem. I liked a lot how he played.’

Liverpool kept up their pursuit of a record Premier League points tally with a 3-1 win on the south coast.

Mohamed Salah put his side ahead after four minutes before Jordan Henderson doubled the Reds’ advantage just moments later.

Leandro Trossard grabbed one back before half-time but Salah got his second of the game after the interval to wrap up the points.

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