‘It was deflected!’: Jurgen Klopp takes a playful dig at ex-Liverpool man Neco Williams in heart-warming tunnel exchange after he scored for Nottingham Forest in Anfield defeat
Jurgen Klopp and Neco Williams shared a heart-warming moment in the Anfield tunnel on Saturday – with the Liverpool manager unable to resist a playful little dig at his former charge.
Williams was handed his senior Liverpool debut by Klopp in 2019 and the Wales international full-back played 33 times in total for the club before joining Nottingham Forest last summer.
The 22-year-old scored on his Anfield return last weekend, his shot deflecting in off Andy Robertson and beyond Alisson, to level the scores at 1-1 before Klopp’s men eventually prevailed 3-2.
Liverpool’s Tunnel Cam revealed the moment post-match when Klopp walked up to Williams and gave him a big hug, while saying ‘It was deflected!’
Williams, who hadn’t scored a goal for Forest prior to that, retorted: ‘It was on target, though, so I’ll take it!’
Neco Williams scored against his former club Liverpool after his shot took a massive deflection
Williams didn’t celebrate against his former club, instead holding his hands up in apology
Klopp warmly embraced Williams in the Anfield tunnel post-match but couldn’t resist a reminder that his shot only found the net via a deflection
Klopp then playfully hits Williams over the head with the shirt he’s carrying before they share another hug. Williams asks his former boss: ‘How are you, you OK?’ Klopp replies: ‘I’m good.’
The German was in a cheerful mood after Liverpool went a fourth game unbeaten to keep alive their chances of qualifying for Europe next season.
Diogo Jota had headed them into a 47th-minute lead at Anfield, only for Williams to equalise just four minutes later. He respectfully didn’t celebrate the goal against his former employers.
Jota’s second restored the Reds’ lead but they again threw it away, with Morgan Gibbs-White making it 2-2.
Relegation strugglers Forest were finally defeated when Mohamed Salah scored Liverpool’s winner with 20 minutes remaining.
Having thrashed Leeds 6-1 at Elland Road in their previous game, Klopp’s side have momentum going into Wednesday night’s trip to West Ham.
He said after the Forest win: ‘Things have changed. How we defend is much better, ball-orientated and being compact.
Klopp made a beeline for Williams when he spotted the Forest man in the tunnel afterwards
Williams said he’d be claiming the deflected goal because his shot was on target – leading Klopp to playfully whack him over the head with a shirt
The pair exchanged pleasantries with Williams asking his former boss how he was doing
Klopp and Williams pictured after Liverpool beat Everton in the FA Cup third round in 2020
‘I saw a lot of top counter-pressing today. That, for us, is super important. We are much clearer in that department. It feels like it changed.
‘If you are solid, aggressive and positive in your defending, you can build on that.
‘For me, it is the first time this season we have that. Late, but hopefully not too late.’