Nat Phillips hints he’ll reject summer transfer and fight for place in Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool defence
Nat Phillips has hinted to Liverpool’s club website that he intends to reject any potential transfer away from Anfield in the summer market to fight for a continued place in Jurgen Klopp’s defence next season.
The Liverpool Echo had recently suggested that the Reds could listen to loan or permanent offers for Phillips, with Klopp likely to restore the 24-year-old to his fifth-choice option next term.
Phillips had become Klopp’s de facto first-choice centre-half at times this season, having lost Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez to various injuries that have seen all three spend time together in the treatment room.
Phillips has impressed Klopp and the Liverpool fanbase at times with his performances since being ushered into the side in October, with the Reds boss describing him as a ‘monster’ and ‘incredible’ (BBC) following an impressive display at home to West Ham United.
The Bolton-born enforcer went on to play a key role in Liverpool recording six clean sheets in their last 13 Premier League games and snatch a place in the Champions League positions, yet accepts the work does not stop here.
“Don’t get me wrong, even though I feel like this season has been successful for me, I know I’ve got plenty to work on and plenty to improve on and that’s what I will be doing in the off-season,” Phillips said.
“I’ll have a little break and then get back to training on my own and working on things that maybe you don’t get the opportunity to work on during the season because it’s so intense.
“So, I’ll be doing that and hopefully have a strong pre-season and just continue to develop and build on what I have so far this year.”
Phillips’ comments to Liverpool’s club website would suggest he sees his future very much at Anfield, despite the speculation that Klopp could look to let him leave either on loan or permanently with others returning to fitness or new faces arriving in the summer.
Klopp could regret letting Phillips leave if a deal were to be struck, as the 24-year-old has come on strongly over the course of the season and would be pushing for a place higher up the German’s pecking order than fifth-choice next term if retained.
Big occasions have rarely proven too big for the defender to handle, either, with Klopp left impressed by his performance against RB Leipzig in the Champions League and reiterating his belief that Phillips is a ‘monster’ whose form had been ‘absolutely incredible’.
The Reds boss would surely also be impressed by Phillips’ attitude to better himself in the off-season on areas he acknowledges are not where they could be, which would only be to Liverpool’s benefit if the Bolton product can come back even stronger next season.
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