Nat Phillips, who we noted as one of this season’s few bright spots, found himself “delighted” to collect the Player of the Month award last month.
As it turns out, his manager echoes his sentiments. Speaking ahead of Liverpool’s clash with Arsenal on Saturday, manager Jürgen Klopp registered his own pleasure at the recognition Phillips has received from fans, spending more time speaking on the Player of the Month than he usually does.
“I couldn’t be more pleased for him,” Klopp told reporters. “It’s well deserved because he helped us a lot, he’s a brilliant guy, he’s an extremely smart guy and enjoys the moment a lot.”
Though the award is not “the biggest award in the world of football,” the manager knows that it’s a special moment to have your contributions recognized by your own fans.
That supporters chose to reward Phillips for stepping up for the side in less-than-ideal circumstances speaks volumes about the values of the club, and the manager knows this more than anyone.
“I couldn’t really love our supporters [more] for giving this Player of the Month award to him.”
None of us necessarily thought Nat Phillips would be first choice at Liverpool at the start of the season — or, indeed, in January amidst the clamor for new signings at centerback. The defender has certainly stepped up when called upon, however, and his manager has high hopes for him for the rest of the season.
“We need him in the shape he played before the break and let’s hope that they can play together like this on the same level or on a higher level for the rest of the season, which would be extremely helpful.”
That Phillips has adapted well to the pressure of the role is undeniable, and we can all hope that he pushes on, continuing to add confidence and stability in a back five which has been far from stable thus far in 2020/21.