Adam Lallana has blasted the “keyboard warriors” who recently aimed online abuse at Liverpool starlet Neco Williams.
The 19-year-old has been integrated into Jurgen Klopp’s first-team squad this season.
Williams played the full duration of the recent 7-2 Carabao Cup third-round win at Lincoln.
However, the defender lost possession in the build-up to the hosts scoring their first goal. The Wales international then received abuse on social media afterwards.
Williams even temporarily suspended his Twitter account in the aftermath after a stream of abuse.
The player was offered support by senior players at the time and now former Red Lallana has offered his view on the “ridiculous scrutiny”.
“I came across it on my own socials that he took a bit of stick,” the 32-year-old told the Between The Lines podcast. “It was such ridiculous scrutiny and opinions from these keyboard warriors.
“This is a young lad that is learning. Of course, you’re going to have some bad moments in games.
“To see a young lad coming through at a top level for a top team having to feel like he has deactivate or whatever, it’s just sad, isn’t it?
“You can have one average game and then all the keyboard warriors are out. He is a young boy still, so he is not going to be used to reading things like that.
‘Kids have to grow up quicker’
“This is the world we live in nowadays. He’s a good lad and I’m sure he’ll be stronger for it, but it’s not something that’s needed with all the other pressures around.”
Lallana’s Brighton will come up against the Reds on Saturday in what will be the first time he has played against his former club.
“When I was younger, it was different. Social media wasn’t what it is now,” added Lallana.
“Obviously there were camera phones and whatnot. But you weren’t getting videoed or filmed what feels like 24/7 now.
“The kids have got to kind of grow up so much quicker. They are 17 or 18, but they’re having to act like probably what I was doing when I was around 25 or 26.
“I think I was lucky that when I was coming through, that wasn’t the case because it would have just added to all the other pressures times 10.”