This January has already seen some extraordinary performances from Liverpool. The Reds have brushed aside Sheffield United and frustrated Tottenham Hotspur. Perhaps the most impressive victory of the month has been the win over Everton in the FA Cup. With the Derby win in mind, Nathaniel Phillips departing on loan is evidence of the genius of Jürgen Klopp.
At the start of the month we were stretched incredibly thin for centre back options. Joel Matip has been missing since October and Dejan Lovren fell victim to the hectic winter schedule.
We were left with just Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk in the heart of defence. With a long season ahead, competing on a number of fronts, injury to either of these players could have been devastating.
The Reds were set to take on their local rivals in the FA Cup, just three days after beating Sheffield United in the league. Legs were tired and fatigue was high as Liverpool came to the end of their gruelling festive period. With a derby to play, the gaffer recalled Nathaniel Phillips from the German second division for just one game.
We went on to win the game 1-0 thanks a wonder goal from Curtis Jones. The fact that Nathaniel Phillips was able to step into this game and keep a clean sheet shows that Jürgen Klopp is a genius motivator and tactician.
The Englishman was playing in the second tier of German football and he managed to slot into a defence that was facing a Premier League first team, facing a Champions League winning manager.
Phillips was solid at the back, he performed his duties without fuss and most importantly: he didn’t concede. The club have since confirmed that the centre back has rejoined Stuttgart on loan, his contract is set to expire in the summer.
The gaffer managed to get a player that has been away all year, a player set to be released in the summer, to step into a game of monumental magnitude and keep a clean sheet. Jürgen Klopp is in a class of his own.