English Premiership

Liverpool stars back Neco Williams after social media abuse

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Jurgen Klopp (Getty Images)
Jurgen Klopp (Getty Images)

Liverpool stars including Virgil van Dijk have backed Neco Williams after the young defender received social media abuse.

Williams was criticised online after losing possession in the build-up to Lincoln's first goal during Liverpool's 7-2 League Cup win last week.

The 19-year-old Wales international has since stopped using his official Twitter account.

But Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders said on Wednesday the highly-rated Williams knows he has the backing of his team-mates, including Van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Speaking ahead of Thursday's League Cup fourth round tie against Arsenal, Lijnders said: "It is not for me to comment on social media.

"The only thing I can say is abuse is wrong - through social media, on the street, it is wrong. Second, you are not a Liverpool supporter if you don't support.

"Trent (Alexander-Arnold) spoke with him (Williams), Virgil spoke with him, Robbo (Andrew Robertson) spoke with him - so it's not only Jurgen or me.

"It's how we take care of each other and that's what makes us different."

Lijnders, standing in for Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp at the press conference, added: "Neco is a doer, and doers make mistakes. We don't want safe play, a player who doesn't take risks.

"Our game is based on everyone taking the initiative from each position, and that is what we want.

"One of the most important lessons for each young boy who is coming through, each player, is that it is a weakness if you can get caught up in praise and criticism. I think he dealt with it really well, to be honest."

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