Liverpool: 5 takeaways from a 2-1 win over West Brom

Liverpool, Alisson (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Liverpool, Alisson (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images) /
4 of 5
Liverpool, Rhys Williams
Liverpool, Rhys Williams (Photo by Tim Keeton – Pool/Getty Images) /

Rhys Williams must be more patient defensively

Nathaniel Phillips had a strong game in defense with two tackles and three interceptions, and he showed some nice ability on the ball with his carrying and passing. Rhys Williams, on the other hand, looked spotty on the ball and committed the error that led to Hal Robson-Kanu (there’s a blast from a Euro past!) opener for West Brom.

What was Williams’ error? It was a cardinal sin in defending. He committed to breaking the defensive line by moving up the pitch to take care of a ball that Fabinho and the midfield honestly should have done a better job of clearing. But midfield mistakes are forgiven more easily by football than defensive mistakes.

When Williams moved up the pitch, the experienced Robson-Kanu drifted behind him into the open space. There was no cover for Williams, who left the rest of his defense exposed. Andrew Robertson scrambled to make the stop, but he stood no chance. Robson-Kanu finished calmly with his left foot, stroking the ball low past Alisson.

Not long after, Williams made a more minor mistake, which Trent Alexander-Arnold was able to clean up to prevent Robson-Kanu from completing a potentially season-destroying brace.

We cannot be unkind to Williams. He is learning on the job, after all, and this is an unfair position to be in. But he can honestly make his job easier if he were to play more cautiously. He must be patient and less reactive so that he does not put the rest of his defense in a tough spot.