Darren Bent has suggested Liverpool youngster Rhys Williams could be Virgil van Dijk’s new defensive partner if he steps up in the Dutchman’s absence.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Tottenham and England striker claimed the 19-year-old has an opportunity to set himself up for life in the coming weeks.
Williams has made four substitute appearances for Liverpool this season but is yet to feature in the league.
He replaced the injured Fabinho after just 30 minutes on Tuesday night as the Reds beat FC Midtjylland 2-0 in the Champions League.
Jurgen Klopp will be without the Brazilian as well as Virgil van Dijk for the visit of West Ham on Saturday so Williams could be set to make his Premier League bow.
It would mark a sensational rise to the top for the Preston-born ace as he was on loan at National League North side Kidderminster Harriers last season.
But Bent has called on him to step-up.
He told Football Insider: “Who knows maybe some from the youth team or the reserves like a Rhys Williams it could be life-changing for them.
“Rhys Williams seems to be the one they’re talking about.
“If they step up and do really, really well that might set them up for life. All of sudden when Van Dijk comes back it might be Van Dijk and Rhys Williams or something like that.
“This is the time for someone to step up because it’s a big big loss that they’re dealing with.”
Klopp hailed Williams’ attitude prior to the game against West Ham but warned it is still very early for the defender.
As quoted by the Liverpool website, he said: “This is a player very much in the early stages of his development. He is learning still. He learns every day.”