Liverpool FC won 2-0 again in Budapest against RB Leipzig, sealing their way into the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League. There were plenty of great performances on the night, from Fabinho’s return to midfield to Thiago multiple karate-kick filled run out... but Nat Phillips’ back to basic classic English centre-half display may just have been the best of the night. The gaffer was asked for his thoughts on the backup defender’s performance by the club’s official website, and he had this to say:
What a boy he is, what a player he is, what a night it is for him. That’s absolutely great. The concentration level he shows now nearly week in, week out since he’s playing for us is absolutely incredible. He’s doing exactly the right things in the right moment. In the air he’s a monster but you could see it today, he’s football-wise not bad, really good. I couldn’t be happier for somebody than I am for Nat in this moment because it was a great game and not a lot of people get the honour to play a Champions League game. He has that now, he played a really good one, he won it and he’s qualified for the last eight in Europe – that’s really special. A few years ago nobody would have thought that and I’m really glad that he can experience it now.
A few months ago, Nat Phillips was probably pondering his future after Liverpool. Now, he’s just clinched a place in the Champions League quarterfinals. Life is strange. It’s been a hell of a season but there’s still plenty of time to turn things around and end it on a good note. With some injury luck, Nat and the rest of the team may just be able to.