The Reds manager has been very impressed with the efforts of a no-nonsense centre-half during a breakthrough campaign at Anfield
Jurgen Klopp believes Nat Phillips will boast “the best heading statistics in the history of the Premier League”, with the Liverpool boss saluting the efforts of a no-nonsense centre-half that has enjoyed a breakthrough campaign in 2020-21.
Another was expected this season, with Phillips admitting to mulling over his options, but injuries to others have worked in his favour and a prominent role has been nailed down in Klopp’s plans.
What has been said?
The Reds boss has said of a defender with 15 appearances to his name: “Nat Phillips is just an exceptional career so far, with all the things he did in the past and what he thought about and where he was and all these things.
“Now playing for Liverpool in the Champions League, Premier League, winning games, winning challenges.
“[He will have] probably the best heading statistics in the history of the Premier League I could imagine at least, it is unbelievable what the boy is doing there, and on top of that playing good football.”
What about Liverpool’s other options?
Phillips has been paired over recent weeks with winter arrival Ozan Kabak, who is taking in a loan spell from Schalke.
The Turkey international is another with limited experience under his belt at just 21 years of age, but Klopp has been impressed with the efforts of those being asked to provide cover for the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.
He added: “It’s good. How we always said – things have to develop, players have to get used to each other, there was never a question about quality or whatever, the boys have quality but then you have to bring it together and then it works.
“Especially in defending it is like this and Ozan and Nat do really well, and hopefully it will stay like this.
“They could play a lot of games [together], four Premier League games and I think four Champions League games as well, probably, so that makes it eight that they played together. That’s really good, I can’t say anything different and I am really happy for them.
“Ozan is a 21-year-old boy, came from Germany here [as] a big prospect. He was not lucky with the last two teams he was playing with, one went down and the other will probably go down.
“Nobody in world football really doubted his quality but coming then and making this big step and winning more games than before, it’s really good for him that he can show that.
“We were convinced but in the end you never know, and he really proved that point.”
Liverpool, who have slipped out of the Champions League and the Premier League’s top four, will be back in action on Monday when taking in a trip to Leeds.