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Liverpool: Phillips the unsung hero in Villa victory

Liverpool finally halted their Anfield woes on Saturday afternoon with a late victory against Aston Villa.

Jurgen Klopp’s Reds had initially gone behind to Ollie Watkins’ strike, with Roberto Firmino seeing his equaliser ruled out by a tight offside call from VAR.

However, they did manage to roar back through Mo Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold, the latter firing in a 90th minute winner.

Will Liverpool make the top four?

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Absolutely!

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Despite the right-back proving key for the reigning champions, it was actually his defensive colleague Nathaniel Phillips who should indeed be earning more praise for his performance.

The centre-back, who earns £64k per-week at Anfield, turned in a thoroughly dominant defensive showing throughout the afternoon.

According to WhoScored, the 24-year-old contributed two tackles and a further seven clearances. For comparison, the rest of the Liverpool side could only contribute nine clearances between them throughout the match.

Whilst his anticipation of danger was extremely impressive, Phillips was also tough to deal with when faced up with his direct opponents.

Of the 17 duels he attempted against Aston Villa both on the ground and in the air, he won a huge 13 of those according to SofaScore – a huge increase on his 7.1 average per match in the Premier League this season.

Phillips was of course pivotal from a defensive standpoint but the Englishman also had his fair share of influence on the ball for the Reds, too.

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Of the 72 passes that he completed, the most of every single player in the entire match, three of those were key. Once again, no player for either side completed more key passes than the Liverpool centre-back.

So, whilst Trent Alexander-Arnold will draw plenty of praise for what turned out to be his winning strike, Phillips was equally if not more pivotal in the Reds claiming a much sought-after Anfield win in the Premier League.

AND in more news, find out which other young defender the Reds must not sell…

Article title: Liverpool: Phillips the unsung hero in Villa victory

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