MJ Williams is hoping for another big night in the Carabao Cup.
The Wanderers’ midfielder has previously experienced some career highs in the competition and a home tie against Premier League outfit Aston Villa offers the chance of another.
Williams made his sole first-team appearance for Liverpool – after coming through the youth ranks at Anfield – in the League Cup against Middlesbrough in September, 2014 and came off the bench as an 18-year-old to score a penalty in an epic 14-13 shoot-out win.
And after moving on to kick-start his senior career at Rochdale, the Welshmen was part of the League Two side that held Manchester United to a draw at Old Trafford before bowing out on spot-kicks five years later.
“Scoring the penalty was probably one of the best moments of my career; growing up playing for Liverpool and then getting the chance to play in the first team,” recalled Williams in the build-up to the Whites’ second-round tie at home to Villa on Tuesday night.
“That was another great night and I’m hoping tonight will be another one.
“It’s a really exciting game for us and the fans. This is what this club should be getting – nights like this against top teams. We’re all looking forward to it.”
The visit of Villa will also mean a special reunion for Williams, who was starting out at Liverpool as former Anfield legend Steven Gerrard was moving towards the end of his illustrious Reds’ career.
The former Liverpool captain was an inspirational figure for the young Williams, although that won’t stop the Wanderers’ anchorman from trying to make it a tough night for Gerrard as Villa boss and help inspire the Whites to a cup shock.
“I was lucky enough to train for four or five months with him in the first team. It was an honour to be able to do that,” added Williams, who could also face former Liverpool team-mate Philippe Coutinho in the Villa ranks.
“Every day you learn so much off him. He was a top player and a top man.
“I know what he demands. They are a top side with a top manager, so I’m sure it will be a great game.
“It’s going to be a tough test but one we’re ready for. These are the nights that you want, the games you want to play in and I’m sure it will be a great evening.
“We’re going to go out and play our game, play a high tempo and try and keep the ball as much as we can.
“There will be times in the game where we have to defend but we can do both sides of that now and I’m sure we’ll give a really good account of ourselves.”
Tickets for tonight’s game are still available – priced just £10 and £5 – with details of how to purchase HERE