Liverpool journalist James Pearce has come out in defence of right-back Neco Williams after criticism of his performance from some fans following the 7-2 win against Lincoln.

Williams started at right-back in the League Cup thrashing and received abuse from a section of Liverpool “fans” after the game, with the defender then blacking out his social media profiles.

The Athletic’s James Pearce has, brilliantly, stood up for the youngster and – rightly – pointed out that he is still only 19 and both Ryan Giggs and Jurgen Klopp rate him highly.

We will not be sharing any examples of the Tweets directed to Williams, obviously, but they were enough to force the young man to take action on his social media presence and that is all that you need to know about how damaging they were.

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LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 04: Neco Williams of Liverpool during the FA Cup Fourth Round Replay match between Liverpool and Shrewsbury Town at Anfield on February 04, 2020 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

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Irrespective of how Williams played against Lincoln, it is not okay to go onto Twitter, or Instagram, or wherever, and abuse a player over their performance. These guys are people at the end of the day and it feels like some people online do not grasp that there is an actual person feeling the effects of their words on the other end – that or they simply don’t care who they hurt.

Constructive criticism is fine and Williams himself will know what he did and didn’t do right during the game. He is only 19 and these sorts of experiences are a learning curve for him. Not every teenager is Trent Alexander-Arnold and can come straight into a team at first-team level and excel – Williams needs time to hone his skills and get used to playing in the senior side.

Give Williams the benefit of the doubt and allow him to develop as a player at the club. If it means he makes a couple of mistakes in domestic cup competitions, is it the end of the world? Certainly not when Liverpool are still winning the game comfortably. Hopefully, Williams will be able to learn from his mistakes and fans can support him and provide encouragement rather than delivering abusive messages every time he slips up.

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