Neco Williams trains away from Liverpool as speculation over transfer increases

Neco Williams was initially named as part of the 19-man squad to report for day one of pre-season with Liverpool, but the right-back is still training separately.

Ahead of the start of pre-season on Monday, the club’s official website announced a 19-strong group that was due to be back at the AXA Training Centre for day one.

Among those listed were four players whose futures are under question this summer, with Williams joined by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Nat Phillips and Ben Davies.

Liverpool have staggered the return times for their players this week, with Roberto Firmino among those instead due back a day later on Tuesday, but the situation surrounding their No. 76 remains unclear.

While Phillips, Davies and Oxlade-Chamberlain were all part of the group for day one, Williams was nowhere to be seen.

And in an update via his Instagram story on Tuesday morning, the 21-year-old shared a photo of him training alone – away from the AXA Training Centre and, seemingly, abroad.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, August 9, 2021: Liverpool's Neco Williams applauds the supporters after a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and Club Atlético Osasuna at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This comes amid interest from newly promoted Nottingham Forest, who have already seen a bid worth up to £15 million rejected by Liverpool this month.

That offer was structured with an initial payment of £11 million and a further £4 million in add-ons, and with the Reds seemingly looking for a more favourable package, Forest were reported to be preparing another bid.

Forest did sign versatile defender Giulian Biancone on Sunday, but the Frenchman is expected to be an option at centre-back as well as right-back, and manager Steve Cooper is said to desire two options in each wing-back role.

There were claims on Monday that Williams had already agreed personal terms with Forest, who saw last season’s first-choice right-back Djed Spence return to parent club Middlesbrough.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, August 9, 2021: Liverpool's Neco Williams embraces manager Jürgen Klopp as he is substituted during a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and Club Atlético Osasuna at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

While it would be wrong to read too much into the Wales international’s Instagram story, it is feasible that he has been allowed to train alone as the two clubs finalise his switch to the City Ground.

If a move is to be expected, it is unlikely that Liverpool would waste time and resources testing Williams’ fitness in these early days of pre-season.

Forest are currently in Alicante for a training camp, ahead of a friendly against Coventry in Spain on Friday, before further clashes with Burton, Barnsley, Hertha Berlin and Union Berlin.

They have already been busy in the transfer market with the signings of Biancone, Taiwo Awoniyi and Dean Henderson, with Williams expected to follow along with Moussa Niakhate and Harry Toffolo.