Nat Phillips could be the answer to Liverpool’s January ‘problem’. He’s got a little over a month to prove it.
Nat Phillips may be the one who ends Liverpool’s January signing plans. If there are any plans. If we had to guess, there aren’t any.
At the very least, those plans would be brand new. They’d revolve around a centre-half, and they’d be reactive.
But that’s not how Liverpool operate. They clearly went into this season believing three senior centre-halves was all that was necessary.
Clearly, it wasn’t. Injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are long-term. Liverpool will almost certainly be without one of the two all season.
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Joel Matip, too, can’t stay fit, while Fabinho – drafted into a centre-half role – has missed games.
If Liverpool want cover, they have two options, then. The first is obvious – sign someone. Look at the market and pay above the odds for a new players. Bring forward any summer plans if you must.
The other option is to put faith in a non-senior centre-half. That will be Phillips on Sunday, according to reports.
Liverpool almost certainly prefer the latter. If a youngster can come in and keep things steady, then they can hold onto their long-term plans and not need to change a thing.
That will always be the preference. It’ll be cheaper, it won’t interrupt anything, and they’ll have a full selection of options, rather than only those available in January.
The power is in Phillips’ hands, though. He needs to prove that they can rely on him. If they can, Phillips may well get the season for a first-team role.
If he can’t, Liverpool will have little choice but to buy someone.