Jurgen Klopp has lauded the ability of Nat Phillips in improving his skillset in every aspect of the game, but hinted that the defender could depart Liverpool in the January transfer window. Phillips rose up through the Liverpool academy, before establishing himself as part of the squad last season.
Nat Phillips graduated through Liverpool’s youth academy and made his breakthrough for the Reds last campaign. The English defender spent the 2019-20 season on loan with Stuttgart in 2.Bundesliga, as he garnered valuable experience and consistent gametime. Phillips was fifth in the pecking order for the Merseyside campaign, but an injury crisis that riddled the Liverpool backline prompted him to feature throughout most of last campaign.
Phillips made 20 appearances for the Reds last campaign while scoring a solitary goal across all competitions. The centre-back put in several impressive displays last season, but the return to health of key defenders such as Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip, Joe Gomez and the acquisition of Ibrahim Konate in the summer has seen him make only three appearances this season. Several Premier League clubs are reported to have a keen interest in the 24-year-old and Klopp has hinted that a move could be on the cards, while crediting Phillips for drastically improving his game.
“People often ask me which player made the biggest improvements under my leadership, and I say Robert Lewandowski. That’s probably right, but not far off that is Nat Phillips, just in a completely different department. His development is absolutely insane. He improved in pretty much everything since, and he’s not playing. Life is sometimes not fair and I can’t blame him,” Klopp said in his pre-match press conference.
“We cannot keep him forever, that’s clear. We needed him, just to be safe, for that half-year. We will see what happens in the window. He was fine doing it because he’s a great guy,” he added.