Nathaniel Phillips continues to go from strength to strength alongside Ozan Kabak at centre-back, and his progress could be rewarded this summer, according to reports.
19th time lucky?
Phillips and Kabak, who both saw their talents utilised in Germany last season, recently helped Liverpool to back-to-back clean sheets for the first time since early December.
In both matches against RB Leipzig and Wolves, Klopp’s 19th alternate centre-back pairing this season were the standout players to restore some much-needed momentum for Liverpool to build on.
Indeed, Kabak and Phillips’ fledging partnership has blossomed following the decision to utilise supreme midfielder, Fabinho, back in his natural position.
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With the Brazilian as a human shield, Kabak and Phillips have quickly developed a defensive understanding that could finally see Liverpool in good stead to finish the season strongly.
On Monday night – for only the second time this season – Klopp named an unchanged line-up. It’s no wonder, then, that the added bonus of familiarity, tempo and the inclusion of elite players in their natural positions have all contributed in the team potentially turning a corner.
And Phillips has seemingly been one of the top beneficiaries of Liverpool uncovering what looks to be a sustainable defensive set-up.
Strong credentials next season for Phillips
The Athletic claim that Liverpool could keep him for next season as a reward for his outstanding contributions this term.
Forget talks of where the player stacks up in the defensive hierarchy, Phillips has showcased a number of qualities that have been worryingly lacking from Liverpool’s centre-backs this season, notably consistency and durability.
Even if Liverpool were to buy Kabak permanently once his loan period from Schalke expires, the club would be wise to consider Phillips’ future carefully, too.
Luckily, the more Phillips continues to enhance his reputation on Merseyside, the stronger his chances of becoming an integral asset to Klopp next season will increase.