There’s a lot of focus at Liverpool right now on whether or not Georginio Wijnaldum will sign a new deal with the Merseyside club before the end of the season, but those at the club should not forget about Nathaniel Phillips.
The young centre-back’s contract with the club is set to expire at the end of the current season and his recent performances in the first-team warrant him a new deal.
Following the injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez earlier in the season, the 23-year-old was handed a rare opportunity to start by Jurgen Klopp in the Reds’ 2-1 win against West Ham United.
The academy graduate was solid in that win, earning a 6.91 rating from WhoScored for his performance, whilst Klopp was extremely complimentary of the defender following the game, saying:
“He’s a brilliant guy, smart guy, intelligent, everything.
“He’s not easy on the eye, he’s not Messi but who cares? In the air, he’s a monster! He was incredible. For the first game, I think everyone can imagine how nervy that must be after a long wait.
“It’s a crazy story, three years ago he was on his way to America to go to college.
“Twelve Championship teams wanted him and to me it was clear he was going, and I was fine with that – and it didn’t work out for whatever reason, and it’s great!
“Tonight he was spot on, helped the team incredibly.” (per talkSPORT)
Liverpool’s injury woes have eased somewhat since then, with Fabinho and Joel Matip forming a partnership at the heart of the Reds’ defence, so he has been limited to just one further appearance for the Reds this season.
However, he showed his quality in that game, as he earned a superb 7.57 rating for his performance in the 1-1 draw against Brighton in late November.
Therefore, it would be a shame to see him leave Liverpool on a free transfer at the end of the season, as he has already shown that he can be relied upon to do a job in Klopp’s first-team when required.
It would be a surprise if Phillips doesn’t make any more appearances between now and the end of the season, considering the severity of Gomez and Van Dijk’s injuries, so if he can help Liverpool retain the Premier League title, he will surely go down as a hero at the club.
So, whilst the focus may well be on Wijnaldum and whether or not he commits his future to the club, Michael Edwards and co. must ensure that Phillips’ excellent performances so far this season are rewarded with a new deal at the club.