Nat Phillips could well get his first Liverpool start of the season vs Porto today. The 24-year-old is yet to make an XI.
Nat Phillips is unquestionably a very good centre-back. We saw that last season as he secured himself hero status at Liverpool over the second half of the campaign.
Phillips led a centre-back pairing with Rhy Williams as Liverpool finally rebounded into good form. It was enough to secure Champions League qualification, in fact.
That was an incredible rise for a player who wasn’t expected to play a minute over the season. Injuries changed that, of course, as they thrust Phillips into contention.
He delivered on his opportunities, though, and earned himself a new contract in the summer. But that makes Phillips’ situation sound better than it really is.
Those injury problems eased up and he now finds himself behind Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate in the pecking order. Liverpool were reportedly open to selling him for around £15m, knowing he’d rarely play.
There were no buyers, though, leaving him at the club and far down the list of choices.
It means Phillips hasn’t actually started a game this season. However, that could change today.
Nat Phillips to start for Liverpool vs Porto?
Liverpool vs Porto is a strange game as there isn’t anything riding on it for the Reds. Not only have they qualified from the Champions League group with two games to spare, but they’ve also won it.
A result doesn’t really mean much beyond momentum, then. It’ll be a chance to rotate, certainly, and we expect to see Jurgen Klopp throw in squad players.
One of those should be Phillips. Usually, this would be a chance to go with Gomez and Konate after Van Dijk and Matip played against Arsenal but Gomez is injured.
We still think the senior duo should have the midweek off, though, making this a great opportunity to start Phillips. It’s unlikely he’d perform so well that he forces his way up the order but who knows?
He shocked everyone last season – Phillips deserves another chance to do it once again.