Jurgen Klopp accused his Liverpool FC team of failing to protect Neco Williams after the teenager was substituted at half-time of their 3-1 win at Brighton and Hove Albion on Wednesday night.
The Wales Under-21 international was handed a surprise start at left-back for the Premier League clash at the Amex Stadium ahead of Scotland captain Andy Robertson.
Williams, whose is traditionally a right-back, acquitted himself well on the left side of Liverpool FC’s defence after he made a crucial block to deny Leandro Trossard.
The teenager’s intervention drew praise from former Liverpool FC defender Jamie Carragher during his commentary on the top-flight clash on Sky Sports.
Williams came up against defender Tariq Lamptey and the pair had a running battle throughout the first half on the south coast.
The Liverpool FC full-back was booked for a foul on Lamptey before the Brighton full-back managed to evade Williams to provide an assist for Trossard to score on the stroke of half-time.
Klopp opted to bring on Robertson for Williams at half-time and the Premier League champions managed to see out a comfortable 3-1 win against the Seagulls.
Speaking at his post-match media conference, Klopp heaped praise on Williams for his performance in the opening 45 minutes at Brighton but felt that his team-mates didn’t offer sufficient protection.
“I know football is like this,” Klopp said. “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.”
Mo Salah and Jordan Henderson scored in the opening nine minutes at the Amex Stadium before Trossard halved the deficit in the 45th minute to set up an intriguing second half.
However, Salah scored his second goal of the night to cement three points for the Premier League champions.
Liverpool FC will take on Burnley in their next Premier League fixture at Anfield on Saturday before games against Arsenal, Chelsea FC and Newcastle United to finish the 2019-20 season.
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