Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams each faces an uncertain future with Liverpool. Though, that’s a testament to how good they’ve been.
Just how does the future look for Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams? The duo have been saviours at Liverpool this season but now we’re not sure what happens.
Injuries to Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, and Ozan Kabak meant the Reds finished their season with Phillips and Williams. They finished it well, too, winning consistently to claim a top-four finish.
But at least three of those players will be back next season. Liverpool may well sign a new centre-back, too. In some ways, it’s a huge compliment that we don’t know how their futures look.
Last summer it was obvious for each that it wouldn’t be at Liverpool. Their futures were away from Anfield and they’d never play in the first team.
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But here we are wondering if they do in fact have long-term futures here. Both might, quite honestly. That’s how good they’ve been this season.
So where does it all leave the heroic duo?
The most interesting of the two. Phillips has been brilliant this season and is a huge part of Liverpool’s third-place Premier League finish. He looks comfortable at this level, despite his inexperience.
Phillips is 24 but this season was his first taste of Premier League football. It makes him pretty unique in the grand scheme of things. But we’re not sure what that means going forward.
He’s not going to be ahead of Van Dijk, Gomez or Matip. We find it hard to believe Liverpool would sign someone as fifth-choice, too. That gives Phillips that role as fifth in line for a game.
Is that good enough for him? We’re not sure – he could easily be starting Premier League fixtures every week with another side. It all depends on how highly Liverpool truly rate him.
His age, too, will play a part. Phillips can’t afford to have another season without game, not when he should be entering his prime years. Liverpool won’t want that either and it’s best for everyone is they capitalise on Phillips’ rapid development.
As for what that means, we honestly have no idea just yet.
Williams is a little clearer – he’s got to go out on loan. There’s definitely no first-team place for him next season but he’s shown to be good enough at this level.
A Premier League loan might be a little much, however. Though, Liverpool could surely find him a decent Championship move.
Williams’ next step is a full season of first-team football. Only a loan gives him that and, hopefully, such a move would lead to even faster development.
As for his future in Red, Williams might just have one. There are remarkably few centre-backs playing this well at 20 in the Premier League – he’s clearly a talent.
So get him that loan, see how he does, and then we’ll see if there’s a proper long-term future with Liverpool. We didn’t think that was possible a year ago but what he’s hit a level few 20-year-olds do.
As for how bright his future is, we might need to see a second season of similar form.