In the Sliding Doors version of this season, Nat Phillips has a loan approved and leaves Liverpool for this season. The center-back situation becomes even more dire for the Reds and who knows what happens after that. Luckily, that’s not how things went. Instead, the 24-year-old Phillips remained with the club and found himself tasked with helping his team through one of their worst runs of form in years.
In this universe, Phillips took the opportunity presented to him in both hands and provided Liverpool with the defensive stability that they needed as one, two, three, four, five center-backs fell like dominoes. In this universe, Phillips scored his first even senior goal against Burnley in the penultimate game of the season when every goal was crucial to meeting their objective of getting into the top four.
Following the season, Phillips discussed his involvement and what it meant to him to have this chance.
“The best way to sum it up is just be proud of all the boys,” Phillips said. “Going into the start of the season we had high aspirations and higher expectations, but certain things happened, the situation changed and we had to adjust and adapt to that. Like I said earlier on, it did look like it was a bit out of sight, and to claw our way back into it the way we have done, every individual in the team can be proud of that and the mental strength [we showed] and sort of refusal to give in or accept that it’s over.”
The Reds managed eight wins and two draws in their final 10 games of the season. The return to consistency and run of good form helped them crawl back up the table in the final third of the season. Phillips was a huge part of that comeback. The two draws, against Leeds United and Newcastle United, were the only two out of the last 10 in which Phillips didn’t feature. Along with partner Rhys Williams, Phillips finished off the final, crucial five games of the season by picking up all 15 possible points and only letting in three goals.
It’s unclear right now if Phillips will find himself loaned out for another season or if he’s in Klopp’s plans for depth in the fall. Either way, the 24-year-old has ensured himself a place in the hearts of Liverpool fans for the part he played in salvaging this difficult season.