LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, October 27, 2020: Liverpool players line-up before the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Liverpool FC and FC Midtjylland at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Rhys Williams earns “world-class” praise as Reds “set the foundations” in Europe

Liverpool players celebrated a job done and after making it two from two in the Champions League but they were left to cross their fingers once more due to injury.

It wasn’t pretty and it was far from a classic, but Jurgen Klopp‘s men found a way once more to notch three points on the board to set promising early foundations in Group D.

It came at a cost, however, with another centre-back option in Fabinho stung by the hamstring sniper midway through the first-half as the defensive injury woes continued.

Despite the upheaval at the back once more, the Reds were able to bed in Rhys Williams and deny Midtjylland on the scoresheet as they carved two opportunities in attack to seal a 2-0 win.

The rotated side understandably lacked rhythm and cohesion against their well-drilled opposition, but a sharp one-two between Xherdan Shaqiri and Trent Alexander-Arnold would provide the opener for Diogo Jota.

And while it was one which edged the Reds ahead, the strike was also one which saw the club reach the 10,000 goal mark across all competitions.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, October 27, 2020: Liverpool's Diogo Jota (R) celebrates after scoring the first goal during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Liverpool FC and FC Midtjylland at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

A penalty conversion from Mohamed Salah in stoppage time would make sure of the result and for Jota, who has now scored in three of his four Anfield appearances, his effort was one to savour after he marked his name in the record books:

“We have many players with great qualities so everything can happen and it was a great move and I was there to finish.

“I think it’s an amazing stat [10,000 goals] but the most important was the team and the victory but, of course, being in the history books is always a mark and I’m very pleased with that as well.

“I always try to help the team, running, defending and obviously as a forward I want to score so when that happens I’m always happy and when we win everything is perfect.”

For the man who provided the assist, Trent Alexander-Arnold conceded it was “not our best game” but it was a case of ensuring the job was done to put Liverpool in the best possible position.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, October 27, 2020: Liverpool's substitute Rhys Williams during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Liverpool FC and FC Midtjylland at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The right-back was also left to hope that Fabinho‘s injury is not a serious one but lauded the “world-class” job of Williams, when speaking to LFCTV, after entering the fray cold at such a young age and more than holding his own:

“It was always going to be tough, it’s Champions League so you never expect an easy game but we’ve kept a clean sheet which we’re happy with, we played well and we’ve done our job.

“It wasn’t our best game but we’ve got the job done, three points in a tough group and you never take that for granted and we’ve put ourselves in a decent position.

“Hopefully, we’ve set the foundation to work off now and hopefully keep going, working hard and advance.

“Fab’s been playing well, doing unbelievable the last few games and obviously that happens. It’s disappointing but hopefully, it’s not too long because we’ll miss him.

“That position’s probably a bit bare, to say the least. But we’ve got an amazing squad, you’ve seen Rhys Williams stepping in and doing a world-class job, at a young age with such little experience. He’s got a bright future ahead.”

The vice-captain was also quick to praise the performance of Williams when he took to Instagram after the game, with James Milner lamenting the absence of the fans as he celebrated the three points:

For the 19-year-old himself, he was “delighted” to get another outing in the Champions League, following on from his late cameo at Ajax, and to mark it with three points and an all-important clean sheet:

The remaining members of the defensive line in Alisson, Joe Gomez, Andy Robertson and Trent were equally pumped to add “another big three points in Europe” having been back on home soil:

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?+3 points #UCL #AB1 #ynwa #cleansheet

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3 points and a clean sheet on a European night ???

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Another big three points in Europe!!! #YNWA

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European win back at Anfield.

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The three-point theme continued with Xherdan Shaqiri and Jordan Henderson, with the pair eager to keep the momentum rolling:

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+3 ????? #XS23 #UCL #YNWA

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Important 3 points! we keep going!! ?? #YNWA

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And for Gini Wijnaldum and Jota, it was time to commemorate two vital early wins in Group D and the “great moment” of being the one to notch Liverpool’s 10,000th goal:

While certainly not a European night to remember, with injuries mounting it did not need to be as keeping the wins ticking over, irrespective of performances, is key.

The victory places the Reds in the enviable top spot in Group D but the task now is to stay there ahead of a double-header with next best Atalanta.

For now, Liverpool’s immediate attention will return to the Premier League with West Ham the visitors on Saturday evening as Klopp’s side look to secure back-to-back league wins.