Aberdeen boss Barry Robson is determined to send loan star Rhys Williams back to Liverpool an even better player.
The Dons boss insists this will require the 22-year-old centre-back to make a major impact at Pittodrie.
England under-21 international Williams is on a season-long loan from the English Premier League giants.
Williams has already played 19 times, with 14 starts, for the six-time European champions.
However, the defender has not turned out for Jurgen Klopp’s Reds since 2021 and has had recent loan spells at Blackpool and Swansea.
Williams has another three years left on his Liverpool contract.
Aberdeen have forged a strong relationship with Liverpool of late, having taken Leighton Clarkson in for a successful loan spell last season.
Midfielder Clarkson, 21, was such a hit the Dons signed him up this summer on a four-year contract.
Robson wants to deliver another loan success story by helping defender Williams hit the heights at Pittodrie.
He said: “Rhys has all the attributes but we need to make sure we work him hard and try to improve him.
“He is a big lad and someone who needs a good bit of work in him.
“Rhys is a player who is young and hungry.
“The big thing for us is to try to improve him to make sure he can come in to try and affect the team.”
Champions League experience
Williams was drafted into the Liverpool starting line-up during the 2020-21 campaign when the Anfield club was hit by a defensive injury crisis.
Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip were all ruled out with long-term injuries.
Before Williams was taken into the starting line-up, Liverpool had lost six consecutive home games to slip to eighth in the Premier League table.
With Williams in the defence, the Anfield club won eight of their last 10 games to finish third and qualify for the Champions League.
The now-loan defender started Premier League wins against clubs, including Manchester United and Arsenal in the 2020-21 season.
During that campaign Williams also played in six Champions League group games, starting three.
Despite these achievements at the top level, Robson thinks Pittodrie is still a platform where the stopper can continue his development.
He said: “Rhys joins us with a real pedigree, coming from Liverpool.
“We think we can improve Rhys and give him the platform to continue his development.”
Robson closing in on more signings
Williams is one of five signings secured by boss Robson so far in the summer transfer window.
Captain Graeme Shinnie signed a three-year contract following his exit from Wigan Athletic.
Clarkson signed from Liverpool until 2027, with right-back Nicky Devlin signing a two-year deal following the expiration of his contract with Livingston.
Striker Ester Sokler was secured in a £300,000 transfer from Slovnian club NK Radomlje on a three-year deal.
Robson recently confirmed he is closing in on landing more transfer targets as his summer rebuild ramps up.
Aberdeen hope to have secured more signings secured before the first pre-season friendly at Turriff United on Wednesday, July 12.
The Dons are currently in Portugal for a warm-weather training camp.
‘We still have vacancies in the centre-back area’
Williams is one of three recognised centre-backs currently at Pittodrie.
Angus MacDonald signed a two-year contract extension at the end of the campaign.
Former Aberdeen captain Anthony Stewart has also returned to Pittodrie following a loan spell at MK Don in the second half of last season.
Robson sanctioned the January transfer deadline day loan move for Stewart just days after taking on the managerial role.
Boss Robson recently said Stewart would be given the chance to impress during pre-season to salvage his Aberdeen career, with a year left on his Aberdeen contract.
Robson confirmed he is still on the look-out to sign centre-backs.
The Dons are understood to be keen to bring Liam Scales back to the club on a permanent deal.
Scales was on loan at Pittodrie from Celtic last season and has two years left on his contract with the Parkhead club.
Robson said: “We still have vacancies in the centre-back area.”