Jurgen Klopp reveals the Liverpool player that has made the most improvement under him
Robert Lewandowski and.
.. Nat Phillips?
Speaking in his press conference on Friday, ahead of Liverpool’s tie with Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday afternoon, Jurgen Klopp compared Nat Phillips to Bayern Munich star and Ballon D’or runner up Robert Lewandowski.
The context? Improvement under him.
Phillips has not started a game for Liverpool this campaign, and was pushed further down the pecking order by the arrival of Ibrahim Konate in the summer, but Klopp was asked about the potential of him starting against AC Milan, and went to great lengths to discuss his progression.
The Liverpool boss revealed:
“I have to mention Nat Phillips [is because] people ask me which player made the biggest improvement under my leadership and I said Robert Lewandowski and that’s probably right, but not far off that is Nat Phillips. It is just a completely different department, but I remember when I first saw Nat Phillips, after the game – and he is one of the smartest players I’ve ever had”
“I spoke to him and said, ‘You know you are not easy on the eye?’ He improved in pretty much everything – everything – and he is not playing here. Life is sometimes not fair.”
“We cannot keep him forever, but it is clear in the moment we needed him to be safe for the half-year for sure. We will see what happens in the winter [transfer window] but we needed him here and he was fine doing it because he’s a great guy. The development is absolutely insane, honestly.”
“You saw it last year, when you thought about Nat Phillips you thought, ‘Oh my God, he plays in the last line’ and stuff like this, but the way he played… yes, we love him because of his heading, but with his feet meanwhile he’s unbelievable. He was just a late starter, but from there on it was absolutely insane and I would sign him for each club I would be at apart from Liverpool because we [already] have him.”
📺 Jurgen Klopp on Nat Phillips’ improvement:
“Which player made the biggest improvement under my leadership? I said Robert Lewandowski and it’s probably right, but not far off that is Nat Phillips! It’s just a completely different department.” 🔴 pic.twitter.com/mKn3LtYYBm
— Anfield Watch (@AnfieldWatch) December 3, 2021
What next for Phillips?
As Klopp mentioned, Liverpool cannot keep Phillips forever. He has emerged as a target for Newcastle United, as per the Telegraph.
Exclusive: Newcastle United’s new owners confident they will be able to move swiftly in January transfer window to land targets – and have not encountered any reluctance from rival clubs to do business with them | @LukeEdwardsTelehttps://t.co/oyPzlutYSQ
— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) December 2, 2021
Meanwhile, West Ham are also in the market for a centre back in the wake of injury to Angelo Ogbonna, while Burnley showed interest in the Englishman last summer.
Wherever he moves to, he will surely be an asset to their backline.