Jurgen Klopp has ruled out a January loan move for Neco Williams, insisting his focus is “all about pushing” for a place in the side – which may not come at right-back.
Williams has been limited to just eight minutes of action across the Premier League and Champions League so far this season, with his only start coming against Preston in the League Cup.
For Wales, though, it has been a different story, with the 20-year-old a regular starter for Robert Page and excelling against Belarus and Belgium in the international break.
Speaking after Williams’ outstanding performances on duty, Page suggested he should head out on loan in the winter transfer window to ensure he is fully fit to compete for a Wales spot.
Klopp disagrees, though, as he told reporters on Friday.
“We are really short of players. The last thing I’m thinking about is who could go on loan in the winter,” he said.
“In Neco’s case, I can 100 percent understand that my colleague from Wales said he thinks it would make sense that they play.
“But they are nearly qualified or can qualify for the World Cup with a lot of players who are not first choice in their teams.
“So I think it makes absolute sense that Neco is here developing every day, and that’s what he’s doing. And to fight through the situation, that’s what he’s doing.
“Just going on loan, you never know where they will end up – not Neco, but in general.
“First and foremost you have to make sure you fight where you are, because if you don’t sort your problems where you are, you will carry them with you to the next club as well.
“I’ve said before, it’s not easy to be first-choice player constantly at Liverpool, we have a really strong squad.
“But Neco is developing, Neco is improving, and that’s why Neco could play how he played for Wales. Not only against Belgium, but as well against Belgium. That’s it.”
When it comes to battling for a place in the side at Liverpool, Williams faces an impossible task as he looks to supplant to world’s best right-back in Trent Alexander-Arnold.
But the young Welshman has shown his versatility already this season, both as a left wing-back for his country and further forward as a right winger for his club.
It is interesting, then, that Klopp admitted he is “not sure if right-back really is [his] natural positon.”
“He’s pushing, he’s pushing, he did already at Preston, which is good,” the manager added.
“Neco’s a young player, and he plays at Liverpool, which is a pretty good football team. It’s not that easy to get in the first team – on his maybe natural position.
“I’m not sure if right-back really is [his] natural position, but then [if it is] there’s Trent Alexander-Arnold.
“Then [when] he could not play [in September], Neco was not fit then [and] James Milner played there in an incredible way, to be honest.
“But Neco, I saw images of his performances [for Wales] and he did really well, especially offensively, big chance against Belgium in the last minute or so.
“It’s all about pushing. That’s what he’s doing, so he’s not doing anything wrong. Then it’s about opportunity coming up.”