Nat Phillips was ‘looking forward’ to leaving Liverpool before starring on debut

Nat Phillips admits he was “looking forward” to leaving Liverpool in the summer and kick-starting his career. Four years after joining Liverpool’s academy, Phillips finally made his Premier League debut for the club against West Ham on Saturday. The centre-back put in a man of the match performance to help Jurgen Klopp’s side beat the Hammers 2-1.

But it could have been so different for Phillips if a transfer came off in the summer.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the match, Phillips said: “It’s been a strange one, because it looked like I might have been on my way out of the club, because I had a lot of interest and I was looking forward to getting my career started.

“That didn’t come through and obviously I’m quite happy it didn’t.”

Phillips has been called upon after an injury crisis for Klopp in defence.

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Virgil van Dijk is set to miss the rest of the season after injuring his anterior cruciate ligament against Everton.

Fabinho is out with a hamstring problem and Joel Matip continues to be hampered by niggles.

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Phillips was delighted to show what he could do and hopes there are further opportunities around the corner.

“It’s massive, something that I dreamed of growing up,” he added.

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“To have that opportunity was huge for me and huge for my family. Really happy, and even more so to get a good result.

“I think it was important to do the basics early on, to settle any nerves, not try and complicate things too much. As the minutes go on, you settle into the game.

“I really enjoyed it – a tough battle, a lot of aerial battles, but that’s my strength so I enjoyed that side of it.

“I’ve just been concentrating on this weekend up until now, but if the opportunity does arise again I’ve got to make sure I’m ready for that.”

Substitute Diogo Jota grabbed a late winner for Liverpool to send the Reds back to the top of the table.

And Jota explained what Klopp told him to do before he replaced Curtis Jones.

“To be lively,” Jota said.

“Of course with the game time the other team gets tired, so we need to do movement, movement.

“Fortunately in the end I got the space. Great pass from Shaq [Xherdan Shaqiri] and I could score.”

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