As Liverpool’s center-backs continue to be decimated by injuries, Nat Phillips emerging as a player that Jürgen Klopp can trust to start matches has been a saving grace for the defending Premier League Champions. In a very short time, Phillips went from an off the radar U23 player to being in contention to start on a regular basis.
Despite having an extremely limited history of first-team professional football (just 19 appearances while on loan at VfB Stuttgart last season), Phillips has acquitted himself very admirably, and he seems to be adapting to the challenge of the Premier League.
In a recent interview with LiverpoolFC.com, Phillips admitted that while getting used to the PL has been challenging, he hasn’t felt like he doesn’t belong, and he is growing more comfortable every time he laces up his boots.
“It’s definitely challenged me [at this level]. I wouldn’t say I’ve felt out of my depth. The more games I’ve played, the more I’m getting used to it, but each game provides a different challenge,” said Phillips.
“With each game I’ve just got to try to gather experiences from them and work on the things I need to get better at, learn from each game, and hopefully get the momentum.”
The Englishman’s most recent start, Wednesday’s scoreless draw against Newcastle United, was yet another tough test, but he was happy to contribute to a clean sheet after failing to do so in his first two starts.
“It was a tough game for myself, very physical, they didn’t make it easy for me up there. But there’s plenty for me to work on, I’ll look back on the game and see what areas I need to improve on. But a clean sheet isn’t too bad.”
Though the clean sheet was a positive, the 23-year-old defender certainly wasn’t happy with the result, and he felt his team had done enough to earn the three points.
“Really frustrating. We felt we created enough [chances] in the game to take three points and get the win,” said Phillips. “But, unfortunately, we just couldn’t convert our chances. It can be like that sometimes in football and we’ve just got to pick ourselves up and go on to the next game.”