Liverpool have been handed a considerable injury boost ahead of this weekend’s clash against Southampton, with Nathaniel Phillips able to take to the pitch once again.
The centre-back has missed the last two Premier League games with an injury, both of them ending in 1-1 draws against Leeds United and Newcastle United.
Whilst he was scheduled to take to the pitch in the Reds’ Premier League game against Manchester United last time out, he did not end up playing as the match was called off due to fan protests at Old Trafford.
However, with Phillips now sure to be included in the Liverpool squad as Jurgen Klopp’s men host Southampton on Saturday night, his return will be a huge boost to the Reds for a number of reasons.
First and foremost, Phillips is one of Liverpool’s first-choice centre-backs at the moment due to the respective injuries to Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip.
He has forged a promising partnership with on-loan Ozan Kabak, having started seven Premier League games since the turn of the year. In fact, the Reds have not won any of the last nine league games in which the 24-year-old hasn’t featured, that run stretching all the way back to the 7-0 thumping of Crystal Palace in December.
His underlying statistics are also quite impressive. Hailed as a “monster” by Jurgen Klopp, he has won a huge 5.5 aerial duels per game in the Premier League this season according to WhoScored. He has also contributed 1.2 tackles, 1.3 interceptions and 4.3 clearances per match, which are very impressive numbers.
Another huge benefit of his inclusion is the possibility of pushing Fabinho back into his preferred position. The Brazilian midfielder has been forced to deputise in the backline due to the club’s injury issues this season.
Whilst the 28-year-old is capable at centre-back, he is simply more effective in the middle of the park, so Klopp will be thrilled for a number of reasons that Phillips can return to the starting line-up tonight.
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