Footy Extras

Ex-Liverpool head coach raves about young English pair

Liverpool hero Kenny Dalglish has been impressed with how Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams have stepped up amid the Reds’ injury crisis.

The Premier League giants have lost Joe Gomez, Fabinho and Virgil van Dijk to injury over the last few weeks and Joel Matip is currently the only senior centre-back available to Jurgen Klopp ahead of a busy run of fixtures during the winter period, both domestically and in Europe.

There’s been talk of either Georginio Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson slotting in alongside Matip for the side’s match with Leicester City next weekend but Kenny has been encouraged by the recent showings of young duo Williams and Phillips.

‘It’s difficult for anybody to step in, but at 19 years of age Williams didn’t do too badly against Atalanta,’ Kenny told the Liverpool Echo.

‘He was there and stood up, the first header he cleared everybody out and made sure it was his and Nat Phillips did well in the game at Anfield as well.

‘Whether they’re ready long-term it remains to be seen, but Nat was over in Germany on loan last season and did really well so maybe he is a little bit more experienced.’

Meantime, Real Madrid are allegedly confident of signing Paris Saint-Germain forward and Liverpool target Kylian Mbappe in a €180m (£161m) deal next year providing that the Frenchman does not pen a new deal in Paris.

The 21-year-old has netted 97 times and registered 58 assists in 132 games for PSG since arriving from Monaco, including seven goals and seven assists in eight matches this term.

Madrid are believed to view Kylian as a key part of their rebuild, while the Reds have also been strongly mentioned with the France international in recent months.

23-year-old Liverpool star came close to signing for Welsh club

Nathaniel Phillips almost signed for Swansea City during the summer transfer market, according to The Athletic‘s James Pearce.

The 23-year-old enjoyed a PL debut to treasure on Saturday night, as the Reds beat West Ham 2-1 at Anfield.

In a pressurised situation, Nathaniel produced an excellent showing, proving to be unbeatable in the air and taking home This Is Anfield‘s Man of the Match award.

It has now been revealed by James that Phillips was on the verge of transferring to Swansea, as the Championship side searched for a late replacement for Joe Rodon, who joined Tottenham Hotspur.

The move never materialised, however, and the centre-half stayed put, excelling versus the Hammers.

at 23, he’d have played far more by now if the Englishman was in Jurgen Klopp’s plans – but he showed how invaluable he can be last weekend.

His place in the starting XI came as a shock, with Rhys Williams seen as the more likely starter, but Nathaniel did his job superbly.

Elsewhere, Liverpool are monitoring Ajax ace Perr Schuurs following his recent outstanding UCL display against them.

Perr has already been on trial at Anfield as a 17-year-old defender and although he impressed, it was felt it was better to leave the player in Holland with Fortuna Sittard and continue to watch his progress.

The 6ft 3in centre-back, whose authority and composure has been likened to a young Virgil van Dijk, went on to captain Fortuna Sittard as a youngster before moving to Ajax.

Liverpool central defender eager to get more minutes

Nathaniel Phillips has spoken about his long-term future at Liverpool on the club’s website following his PL debut for the Merseyside outfit on Saturday, as the centre-half helped the Reds win 2-1 versus West Ham United.

With Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho and Joel Matip all on the treatment table, 23-year-old star was handed just his second senior Reds outing – after impressing midway through a Stuttgart loan stint in the FA Cup against Everton last term.

The ex-Bolton defender came through the game with huge praise and even the likes of Andy Robertson and Jamie Carragher selecting Nat as Man of the Match on social media, after the win Jurgen Klopp also praised his player.

Now, Nat has delivered a verdict on his Anfield future. The centre-back was the subject of interest from EFL Championship outfit in the summer, but Goal claim Liverpool chose to keep the player – and Phillips is desperate to continue getting playing time.

“Definitely [want more game time],” he said. “At my age it’s important I’m playing first-team football. I’m not going to be storming into the manager’s office making demands, but I need to be pushing on.

“After tonight, I’m sure myself I’m capable of playing at this level so I just need to maintain those standards and build on it.”

Goal also stated that 12 clubs wanted him in the summer, mostly from the English second tier but also from Germany and the Netherlands. It is also reported that Swansea made a £2.5 million offer for him.

Staying at the club has worked out, but he remains out of the UCL squad and as soon as Joel Matip or Fabinho return, it is likely that Nat will be back watching matches from the sidelines.

Boss explains how close 6ft 2in English defender came to quitting Liverpool

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp admits the Reds had a move for defender Nathaniel Phillips lined up which fell through at the last minute, but feels that the Englishman now has an opportunity at Anfield.

The Anfield outfit received a major blow in their game versus Everton last weekend when Virgil van Dijk was forced off with an ACL injury, which is now set to sideline him for multiple months.

As Jurgen looks to tackle the issue of not having Virgil at his disposal, he feels the likes of Billy Koumetio, Nathaniel Williams and Rhys Phillips could prove to be possible solutions for the situation.

The Liverpool chief revealed that Phillips was on the brink of leaving, but his move collapsed, something which now gives the player an opportunity.

“With the situation, for example, Nat Phillips is here as well and Billy, the kid, is here as well, so these boys are really around“, Jurgen said.

“Nat Phillips, we thought would be [moving away on] a transfer, but then in the last second it didn’t happen.

“And Nat is… we all know, we brought him already back last year from Stuttgart for one game against Everton, in which he did really well.

“These are solutions for us and helps us a lot, the boys are great. It is a big opportunity, obviously, for them.“

He is yet to make a competitive appearance for his side in the campaign and will be looking to catch Jurgen’s eye on the training pitch.

Multiple English clubs looking at deal to sign Liverpool defensive outcast

23-year-old central defender faces uncertain Liverpool future

Liverpool centre-half Nathaniel Phillips looks set to head out on loan once again as Bundesliga and Sky Bet Championship clubs eye a move, the PA news agency understands.

The 23-year-old star spent the first half of last campaign on loan at Stuttgart, before being recalled by the Reds and making his debut in the FA Cup win versus rivals Everton.

Phillips re-joined the 2.Bundesliga outfit on loan in January and helped them secure promotion back to the German’s first tier, where clubs are said to be keeping tabs on the centre-half.

The PA news agency understands the player is also attracting widespread interest from teams in the EFL Championship.

Phillips penned a new and improved long-term deal at the club last August and was part of the Liverpool roster that last month travelled to Austria for pre-season training.

The 23-year-old star appeared off the bench against former side Stuttgart and Red Bull Leipzig during the pre-season camp.

Meanwhile, Liverpool have four stars nominated for the PFA Player of the Year award, with right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold also included on the shortlist in the young category.

The Reds defender appears alongside Anfield team-mates Virgil Van Dijk – previous year’s recipient – Sadio Mane and Jordan Henderson in the six-strong list of nominees for the main men’s prize.

The players are accompanied on the shortlist by Manchester City pair Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling.

The Reds quartet have been rewarded for the roles they played in their side’s first title success in 30 years, finishing 18 points clear of second-placed Manchester City.

Championship club among clubs in for Liverpool youngster

Liverpool defender Nathaniel Phillips is attracting plenty of interest, as claimed by James Pearce from The Athletic.

Championship side Bristol City are believed to be just one of the interested sides in the centre-back and it seems like the Reds are content to let the 23-year-old leave the club as he goes in search of regular senior team football.

Phillips spent the 2019/20 term on loan with 2.Bundesliga side VfB Stuttgart, where the star made 19 appearances across two spells, separated by a recall to the Reds where he played for a much-changed Reds’ eleven that beat Everton in the FA Cup third round.

Whilst the Anfield outfit need back-ups in the centre of defence, it looks like Phillips still does not fit the bill.

He has been with the club since 2016 when he arrived from Bolton Wanderers but it seems that the Reds are keen to offload the defender as the club boost their own transfer kitty in search of transfer targets and in truth, a transfer is probably in the best interests of all parties.

Meantime, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is reportedly willing to give midfielder Marko Grujic the chance to prove himself in pre-season before revealing a final decision on his future at the club.

Marko joined Liverpool in 2016 but has only made 14 appearances for the Reds since, spending most of his time out on loan.

The 24-year-old star has impressed during back-to-back loan stints with Hertha Berlin over the past two seasons, netting nine goals and creating three more in 54 appearances for the Bundesliga side.

Kicker reports that Klopp will cast an eye over Marko ahead of the 2020-21 season in order to determine whether he is capable of challenging for a senior team role at the English champions.

German club confident of extending Nathaniel Phillips loan from Liverpool

German club Stuttgart are keen to make sure they retain the services of Liverpool loan star Nathaniel Phillips but may need to win promotion to the German top-flight to do so.

Die Roten are second in the 2.Bundesliga standings and in contention to gain automatic promotion to the first tier, though the campaign is now suspended.

Nathaniel has been a reliable defender for Die Schwaben and has made 16 league appearances for the club in the season.

Stuttgart are keen to keep Nathaniel and, according to German daily Bild, are prepared to try to do so, believing they’ll be in a strong position to secure another loan deal if the club win promotion.

Liverpool are stated to favour a return to Stuttgart for Phillips if they opt to send the player out on loan again, with the Reds appearing to be pleased with Phillips’ progress in Germany.

Nathaniel was loaned out to Stuttgart in the summer of 2019 before being called back by the Reds in the January transfer market.

He made one appearance in an FA Cup match against Everton before going back to the German side once again on loan for the rest of the term.

Phillips was snapped up by the Anfield outfit from hometown club Bolton Wanderers back in 2016 and slotted into the Reds’ youth set-up.

Elsewhere, Manchester City have allegedly joined Liverpool in the race for Brighton & Hove Albion centre-half Ben White.

The 22-year-old star has been in impressive form on loan at Leeds United during the 2019-20 season, playing in every minute of the club’s EFL Championship campaign to date.

22-year-old Liverpool defender set to make Stuttgart return

Liverpool centre-back Nathaniel Phillips is set to return to the German club Stuttgart on loan after being recalled earlier this month, the Evening Standard reports.

The 22-year-old star spent the first half of the campaign with the Bundesliga side, but was summoned back to the Reds by Jurgen Klopp to be part of the matchday roster for the FA Cup third round win against Merseyside rivals Everton last weekend.

Phillips was also on the bench for last week’s 1-0 Premier League win over Tottenham Hotspur as injuries to Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip left Klopp with only Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk as fit senior centre-halves, but with that duo now on their way back to fitness, he’ll be allowed to leave again.

The Englishman has made 11 appearances for Die Schwaben so far this season, and will now rejoin the Bundesliga II side on their winter training camp in Marbella.

Stuttgart will resume their league season with a home fixture against  Frank Schmidt’s Heidenheim on January 29.

Meanwhile, according to Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano, Roma are interested in handing the 28-year-old Liverpool star Xherdan Shaqiri regular minutes at Stadio Olimpico after a serious knee injury to Italy international Nicolo Zaniolo.

However, in spite of his lack of game time and variants in the academy, it is claimed that the Merseyside heavyweights have rejected an approach from the Italian outfit.

Romano adds that Reds have informed any interested clubs that there is ‘no chance’ of a deal being sealed at the midway point of the season.

Official: 6ft 2in defender returns to Liverpool from Stuttgart loan stint

Liverpool have recalled the English star Nathaniel Phillips from his loan spell at Stuttgart to ease a defensive crisis caused by a number of injuries.

The PL leaders have some serious problems in the defence, with Dejan Lovren (hamstring) and Joel Matip (knee) both currently sidelined and midfielder Brazil international Fabinho – a potential stand-in – also out.

This leaves Jurgen Klopp with just two fit senior centre-backs in Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez, which is far from perfect given they are still competing in three competitions, having just returned from Asia as world club champions.

Phillips had featured in 11 mathces for the Bundesliga 2 side this season, and his recall to the club means he could make his debut in the FA Cup third round Merseyside derby tie at home to Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton on January 5.

“Liverpool have reached an agreement with Stuttgart for Nathaniel Phillips to return from his loan spell in January,” the Reds said in a statement.

Liverpool have two matches before the visit of the Toffees, with both Wolves and Sheffield United travelling to Anfield in the PL in the next seven days.

The club are currently 13 points clear at the top of England’s top tier as they edge ever closer to winning their first Premier League title in 31 years.

Meantime, Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers believes his former club will now be “very, very hard to stop” in their pursuit of the PL title.

“They are going to be very, very hard to stop. There’s no doubt. They’re a fantastic team, with confidence high. They’ve become winners now, and haven’t lost many games now over an 18-month period.

“They’ve enough players, enough experience and enough quality to stay focused and get the job done.” – said Rodgers.