Liverpool have sanctioned the deal for one of the Merseyside Derby heroes to move to Germany.
Despite playing a key role in the 1-0 FA Cup win, Jurgen Klopp has decided that Nathaniel Phillips would be better served by seeking his first team football elsewhere.
We all thought this would be a short-term solution to the defensive injury crisis – and now the Stuttgart official website has confirmed that the 22-year-old has rejoined them.
With Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren unavailable for the Everton victory, Klopp had to shuffle his pack in order to give key first team players a rest. A scheme was concocted, with help from VfB, that enabled Phillips to make his first team debut and then return to Bundesliga. 2 for the rest of the campaign.
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Sven Mislintat, once of Arsenal but now Stuttgart sporting director, praised the good relationship between the two sides for enabling the deal to go through.
He said: “We have had and continue to have a very constructive dialogue that is based on mutual trust with our Liverpool counterparts, and this made it possible to find a solution that benefits all sides at the end of the day.”
Nathaniel Phillips played well but wouldn’t be anywhere near the senior side if it wasn’t for those injury problems. His development will be better served in Germany, where he was played 11 games before returning to Merseyside.
He will now link up with the side as they go through their preparations for the end of the winter break. Phillips will face competition from the experienced Holgar Badstuber and regular Marc Oliver Kempf, but this experience is bound to be good for the 22-year-old.
This is his first taste of life at the sharp end of football. Phillips played well against Everton and he’s done enough for Stuttgart to want to take him back. The defender might not have a future at Anfield, but he’s going to have one in the professional game and that should make us proud.