Some Liverpool fans have hailed an ‘old fashioned proper defender’ after their 2-0 win over Sheffield United in the Premier League.
The game wasn’t the easiest on the eye and the Reds took some time to get into the swing of things. Half-time came and went with the scores level, although the Blades did have one ruled out before the break.
Curtis Jones and then Roberto Firmino (for about five minutes) got the goals for Liverpool, although Firmino did see his excellent effort marked up as an own goal for United’s Kean Bryan.
Diogo Jota was missing from the squad, which sparked a panic on Twitter, while Alisson Becker and Ben Davies were also out of the reckoning.
Nat Phillips is the new Liverpool star
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This meant that Jurgen Klopp was forced to go with a young centre-back pairing for the game against the Premier League’s worst attack, and Dean Wilder’s men didn’t do anything to change their reputation.
Nat Phillips started next to Ozan Kabak, and the duo kept a clean sheet as United mustered eight shots on goal throughout the 90 minutes.
Phillips, who is the least Liverpool-like defender in the squad, had an excellent game and was praised for his old fashioned, old school values. His new haircut screams hard-man centre-back from the mid-90s, and he definitely played like it.
While his passing from the back isn’t outstanding, the former Bolton trainee was positionally excellent, strong in the challenge and held the line very well. So well, in fact, that Phillips may now be the first-choice central defender for the rest of the season.
At the start of the season, the 23-year-old was about to be sold to Swansea City, now he’s about to play a third of a Premier League season – which enhance his career prospects no end.
Any side looking for a no-nonsense defender who does the basics well will do worse than cast an eye around Phillips once Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip return from injury.