Nat Phillips put in a fantastic all-around performance against Aston Villa. The 24-year-old shone in a big win for Liverpool.
Liverpool finally won at home in the Premier League. It’s been a long time coming – nearly four months, in fact.
The Reds fell behind against Aston Villa, naturally, but managed to fight back with goals from Mohamed Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold. Those two understandably took the headlines but there was one other player who deserves a look.
Nat Phillips showed off a great all-around game against Villa. It’s one we haven’t really seen from the 24-year-old.
His work as a no-nonsense centre-back was there, certainly. Phillips won 10 headers in the game. That wasn’t just the most but more than 2nd, 3rd and 4th combined.
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It was over half of what Villa managed as a team, in fact (19). And unsurprisingly, Phillips won headers at the highest percentage in the game (83% success).
And to continue the ‘no nonsense’ theme, Phillips registered more clearances than the rest of Liverpool’s outfield players combined with seven. That was second in the game, behind only Tyrone Mings (10).
But Phillips was also excellent with the ball at his feet. He completed more passes than anyone else in the game with 61 – and only three beat his completion rate of 86%.
The most surprising thing, though, is that Phillips made three key passes. That’s three chances he created – he’d only created two all season before the match.
What RTK has to say
This is all very encouraging. We’re not exactly sure what Liverpool plan to do with Phillips this summer but performances like these are exactly what they want.
At the end of the day, a Liverpool centre-back is there to stop counter-attacks and be a passing outlet. Phillips can do that, clearly.
But he’ll need to do it a lot more if he’s to have an Anfield future. This, though, is a great step in the right direction.