Nathaniel Phillips didn’t foresee ‘any scenario’ which would lead to Liverpool first team

Martin Macdonald
Martin Macdonald Updated: 19 May 2021 17:39 CEST 2 min read
Nathaniel Phillips didn’t foresee ‘any scenario’ which would lead to Liverpool first team

Nathaniel Phillips has admitted that he didn’t previously see any route at Liverpool which would lead to him featuring for the first team, before a raft of injuries forced him into the limelight an Anfield.

The defending champions have been ravaged by injuries this campaign, with Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez out for the season, plus significant absences for Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Joel Matip, and new signing Diogo Jota.

With central defenders dropping like flies, Phillips was trusted to come into the position by manager Jurgen Klopp, and this came after after the player was on the cusp of actually leaving Liverpool for a loan move to the Championship.

“At the end of pre-season, it looked like I was on my way out and going elsewhere to get some games and start my career, and carry on off the back of my loan spell last season,” the towering defender told Sky Sports.

“Initially, when it first happened, everybody was fit, and it didn’t look like there would be any scenario where I would be playing for Liverpool’s first team this year.

Liverpool centre-back starts in 2020/21

PlayerStarts
Jordan Henderson20*
Fabinho17*
Joel Matip9
Joe Gomez6
Nathaniel Phillips6
Virgil van Dijk5
Ozan Kabak3
Rhys Williams1
*Including starts in midfield

“I was a bit disappointed because I was looking forward to going and playing football and just kick-starting my career.

“But obviously things changed, and I don’t think anybody could have seen what was coming, and it was like a typical example of how bizarre football can be sometimes.

“I think it was within a month I was making my debut.”

Phillips made his Premier League debut for Liverpool against West Ham in October, and has gone on to make a further five starts for the Reds in the top flight.

He has, however, been fighting for minutes within that position, with Klopp also using Henderson, Fabinho, Rhys Williams, and now Ozan Kabak in the backline, while Ben Davies is yet to make an appearance since his January move from Preston.