Liverpool secured their place in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday evening with a 4-0 aggregate win against RB Leipzig.
It was Mo Salah and Sadio Mane who got the goals for the Reds and who arguably stole the headlines as the Merseysiders got back on track. In midfield, both Fabinho and Thiago had excellent games too.
However, it was at the other end of the pitch where the real star was and that man was 23-year-old defender Nathaniel Phillips.
The Reds’ academy graduate turned in an eye-catching performance throughout the game and one that was probably befitting of a player his senior.
Partnered with Ozan Kabak at the heart of the Liverpool defence, he was able to keep the Leipzig attack quiet all evening – no mean feat considering that Julian Nagelsmann’s troops are the third-highest goalscorers in the Bundesliga this season.
According to WhoScored, Phillips contributed a total of three tackles throughout the match, whilst also managing a further five clearances – only second to Leipzig’s Lukas Klostermann.
A further two successful aerial duels added to an eye-catching list of crucial contributions from the £1.62m-rated centre-back.
He did not stop there though, also having the confidence to get on the ball.
Throughout the clash in Budapest, he had 57 touches. Only full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold and midfielder Thiago had more.
Phillips was also only beaten by fellow academy graduate, Alexander-Arnold, on passing, with the centre-back completing 48.
Despite having somewhat flown under the radar during the match, with Fabinho also turning in an extremely impressive showing and getting nominated for the Champions League Player of the Week award, Phillips’ display was certainly appreciated by his manager.
Jurgen Klopp labelled Phillips as a “monster” following the game, praise that was certainly justified and the club’s fans agreed as those who voted on social media helped him win the club’s Man of the Match award.
With the Reds still suffering injuries at centre-back, the performance of Phillips will certainly be a welcome relief to the club as him playing so well at the back will allow Klopp to use Fabinho in midfield.