Highlights of Nathaniel Phillips show his quality after Liverpool suffer defensive injuries

  • Kobe Tong

Liverpool have something of a dilemma when it comes to their defenders right now.

Solidarity at the back has been crucial in Liverpool’s brilliant start to the season and although the talismanic Virgil van Dijk remains fit, the club’s centre-backs have been rocked with injuries.

First came Joe Gomez. The Englishman had enjoyed a remarkable run of form, but received his latest fitness blow against Burnley and will be on the treatment table for the next six weeks.

Joel Matip entered the team in his place and delivered a fantastic performance against Napoli, only to pick up a frustrating injury of his own during the closing moments.

He’s also expected to spend the next six weeks out of action, with Liverpool’s medical staff identifying a fractured collarbone after the match.

Liverpool’s defensive injuries

It leaves the club with just two senior centre-backs in their squad – Van Dijk and Dejan Lovren.

Two very accomplished defenders and a partnership that thrived in the win over Watford, but it doesn’t give Jurgen Klopp many options going into the winter period.

With the threat of further injury and the potential need for rotation, Klopp may have to explore alternative means in his defence and the Liverpool Echo reckon they know the man.

Meet Liverpool’s ‘hidden star’

Enter Nathaniel Phillips. The Liverpool prospect was listed as one of the club’s ‘hidden stars’ in an article by the Echo and they believe he would be the back-up to Lovren and Van Dijk now.

And it’s a name that won’t be too unfamiliar to Liverpool fans because Phillips featured as a surprise inclusion in their pre-season tour, facing both Manchester United and Manchester City.

That inevitably means that plenty of footage is available for Kopites to mull over, especially when he could be facing some of the Premier League’s top defences.

All that considered, take a look at a compilation video of his performances on tour this summer:

For just 21-years-old, it’s very impressive stuff.

Ironically, Phillips is currently experiencing an injury of his own – hobbling off during a clash with Everton U23 – but is expected to return as the club’s number three centre-back soon.

The Echo delved further into the prospect of him playing, too, writing: “Phillips impressed Klopp massively after being a surprise inclusion on Liverpool’s tour of the United States in July.

“But he would grow in stature during the tour and grew in confidence. Phillips showed his development with an accomplished performance in from of 101,000 against Manchester United at the Big House in Michigan.

“It did not go unnoticed. Klopp was impressed by how he had taken things on board.

“His distribution has improved drastically and he would establish himself as Liverpool’s third choice behind Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez when Matip was sidelined and Dejan Lovren was absent.”

How do you think Phillips would fare in the first-team? Have your say in the comments section below.

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