Neco Williams recent debut for the first team was a reward for his all-round consistency and humility, according to Liverpool U23s boss Neil Critchley.

The 18-year-old celebrated his maiden senior appearance by providing the assist for Divock Origi’s last-gasp heroics during the incredible Carabao Cup victory over Arsenal.

A regular at U23 level for the Reds, Williams netted three goals for Wales U19s during the international break and returns to club duty full of confidence.

Critchley’s side are back in action on Friday as they visit Brighton and Hove Albion in Premier League 2 (1pm GMT kick-off).

Read on for the manager's pre-match thoughts...

On a return to winning ways in recent games, including victory over Everton in the mini-derby...

We’ve been showing better form in the last few weeks and it’s nice that our performances have been backed up by the results. We have drawn quite a few games I thought we could have won so to get over the line in our last two games has been really good for the group and gives us some confidence moving into a busy period of fixtures. It’s always good to win a derby and there wasn’t a lot between the two teams on the day. We possibly edged the game and just about deserved to win but I was really pleased with the overall performance of the team. It was probably one of the first signs this season where from zero to 90 minutes we put in a proper team performance. We have shown that only in spells in the other games and that’s why we got our just rewards in the derby.

On the 2-1 win over Sunderland in the Premier League Cup in their last outing…

It was an extremely difficult game in terms of the conditions and the way they set up. They put a lot of players behind the ball and it was test for the players that they are not often used to in trying to break them down. It posed our players questions we don’t normally always get. We certainly did enough in terms of the chances that we created to win that game and it is nice to have got off to a good start in our group with the two wins. We want to qualify for the next stage and progress in this competition. Last season we were playing catch up in that competition because of too many draws but this season we have put ourselves in a good position.

On Friday’s trip to Brighton in Premier League 2…

We are looking forward to getting back to action on the back of the international break. Some of our players have been away and a lot of them didn’t get back until Wednesday so we will have to assess how they are physically and mentally and then get the team ready for Friday afternoon. We had two excellent games against Brighton home and away last season they were both very close games. We are expecting another tough and good game on Friday.

On Williams' form during the international break... 

Neco is playing a slightly role for the Wales international team, playing at right-wing-back, which I think is really good for his development. He scored two penalties in one game - I asked him why he took them and he said the captain put him forward. The Wales U19 captain is our own Morgan Boyes and he said noone else wanted to take it so he stepped up. Wales have qualified out of their group now and it has a good camp for them and now they have the elite qualifiers to look forward to in March. I’m made up for Neco and Morgan and it’s always beneficial for us when our boys go away and come back having had a good experience with their international teams.

On the progress of Williams, culminating in his memorable first-team debut this season against Arsenal…

Neco recently made his debut for our first team which was a brilliant moment for him, his family and the Academy. He has been here since a very young age and what you see is what you get with Neco. He is very level-headed, whole-hearted and you know exactly what you are going to get from him on a day-to-day basis. That is why he got his chance in the first team and it was nothing different than what I expect from him in our training and the games. Neco is on an upward curve at the moment and long may that continue for him.

On Elijah Dixon-Bonner signing a new contract

We always like to support and reward our players when they deserve it and Elijah, from the moment he came back for pre-season, has deserved it. He has shown a new maturity in terms of his approach, his learning and his training. That was a nice moment for him and I’m looking forward to seeing how he develops in the next few years. I think Elijah has made good progress so far this season.

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Neco Williams celebrates on his debut at Anfield

Neco Williams: My dream came true... but nothing has changed