James Milner hailed Nat Phillips for his performance against Real Madrid. The stand-in captain was impressed once again.
Liverpool endured a frustrating night on Wednesday as they crashed out of the Champions League. They just couldn’t take their chances, unfortunately.
It was always a big ask, overturning a 3-1 deficit but Liverpool did enough to make it happen. The important bit, however, eluded them.
But James Milner, who captained Liverpool against Real Madrid still found himself impressed by Nat Phillips. The 24-year-old played very well on arguably the biggest night of his career.
“We weren’t good enough over the two games,” Milner told BT Sport. “It was a good effort tonight, I thought there were some outstanding performances.
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“Nat Phillips, again, was absolutely fantastic at the back.
“Again, it’s disappointing because we did everything we wanted to do other than get the two goals.”
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Phillips definitely deserved some praise coming out of this one and it’s great to see Milner hand it to him. Though, he wasn’t the only one – some fans applauded the 24-year-old after the game.
With good reason, too. Phillips put in a very solid display, particularly in the air.
We’ve come to expect that, in truth, but once again, Phillips was dominant. He won seven headers – just one shy of Real’s total – and did it at the highest success rate in the game.
Four interceptions and two clearances rounded off his defensive performance.
For us, what really stood out was Phillips’ intent with the ball. He was willing to drive forward with it and looked fairly comfortable doing so.
It suggests a real confidence in his ability right now. Few centre-backs would be running with the ball near Real’s box in a Champions League quarter-final.
Phillips, though, continues to prove people wrong. The decision over his future this summer continues to become more and more difficult.