Liverpool defender Nathaniel Phillips showed the club’s fans that there is no need to be worried if Joe Gomez leaves in January during the 2-1 win over AC Milan.
The Reds made history when they made it six wins from six in the Champions League group stage, becoming the first English team to ever achieve the feat. Phillips was given the nod in central defence alongside summer signing Ibrahima Konate in a much-changed lineup, which once again didn’t feature Gomez.
The England international has been plagued with injury problems throughout his career and has just returned to training following another period out after recovering from a serious knee injury over the summer.
Gomez has managed just three starts in all competitions this season, including just 13 minutes in the Premier League. This lack of action has seen rumours of a potential transfer to Aston Villa in January for more regular game time as he looks to break back into the England squad ahead of next winter’s Qatar World Cup.
But while some Liverpool fans might be concerned about their depth following the injury crisis last year, Phillips has stepped up once again to show that there is no need to be worried.
The 24-year-old signed a new contract with the club in the summer worth £65k-per-week but has failed to break into the starting lineup despite his good performances last season in the absence of Virgil Van Dijk, Joel Matip and Gomez.
He made 17 appearances in the league last season, earning a WhoScored rating of 7.29 and three man of the match awards during the campaign. This year he has been restricted to just three appearances in all competitions and the game against Milan was his first start. He showed no rust though as he proved he was ready for the big occasion.
Dubbed “colossal” by journalist David Lynch, Phillips won four aerial duels, the most of anyone on the pitch, while also winning 100% of his tackles and making four clearances, behind only Konate for the most in a Liverpool shirt.
It was a performance that reminded Klopp and Liverpool fans that he was there and ready to step up when called upon, which means should Gomez leave the club for more regular game time a costly replacement isn’t needed. He’s already at the club and his name is Nat Phillips.
AND in other news, Divock Origi’s masterclass in Milan.