The former Liverpool goalkeeper is delighted to see the young defender find his place in the Reds’ squad.
has developed himself into a first-team player at Anfield this season. Facing an injury crisis in his team’s backline,
decided to integrate the 24-year-old into his side’s squad at the beginning of the season. The English center-back has displayed solid performances in the Reds’ backline as they sit sixth in the Premier League with 52 points from their 31 matches.
reveals Phillips was close to leavingLiverpool
last summer to get more game time.
He told theLiverpool Echo
“It’s well-documented he was pretty close to leaving on loan in the summer.
“For the month where he came back from his loan from Stuttgart, I was picking him up and driving him to training so we got talking and I think it was pretty much decided it was probably best for him to go and get games somewhere.
“So for him to go from one foot out the door, albeit temporarily, to where he is now is a great story and one he fully deserves.
“I remember in America he had a few loan options and when he was telling me who they were, I was thinking he was better than that. I didn’t think they were great clubs for him to go to.”
Phillips spent a season-long loan spell atStuttgart
in 2019 where he made 19 appearances for the second-tier club.
“Liverpool have got a plan for every player and the plan was to get Nat into a team that would improve his footballing abilities rather than his raw defending. He went to Germany to Stuttgart and really enjoyed it.
“Then he got the great opportunity to come back and play in the FA Cup against Everton. I think one of his first challenges, he absolutely smashed someone on the halfway line and the crowd went mad. It was like, “Welcome. Welcome, Nat!”
“And now he’s got this opportunity. It’s surprising the way he’s got into the team because Nat would have never expected all the injuries to have happened. He’s probably surprised he got his chance to play in all these games.”
The English defender has featured in 14 matches for the Reds in their current campaign, including 2 Champions League games.
“I’m surprised at the amount of injuries that have led to him getting his chance. It’s pretty obvious that if Joe, Virgil or Joel were fit, they’d play.
“But I am not surprised by how he has performed at all. I’m not surprised at how well he has done. There’s no real weakness in Nat. There’s no real weakness in many Liverpool players to be honest!"
Liverpool will faceReal Madrid
in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie on Wednesday. The Reds host the Spanish side as they are 3-1 behind on aggregate.