3 reasons Nat Phillips must start for Liverpool vs Chelsea

Nat Phillips, Liverpool FC (Photo by Scott Heppell - Pool/Getty Images)
Nat Phillips, Liverpool FC (Photo by Scott Heppell - Pool/Getty Images) /
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Liverpool must stick with Nat Phillips at the back for the Chelsea game on Thursday.

The Reds return to Anfield in a quest to restore their home ground as their fortress. Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea won’t be the easiest opponent to start this journey against, but starting Nat Phillips as one of the centre-halves could make a win for Liverpool more achievable.

Liverpool fans couldn’t stop raving about Phillips following his performance against Sheffield United on Sunday night. The 23-year-old certainly isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing centre-back to watch, but he gets the job done without making too much of a hassle.

The man from Bolton has made eight Premier League appearances this season, which is considerably lesser than I expected him to make given the injuries we’ve had at the back. I’ve always thought that he should be Jurgen’s go-to man in the absence of Virgil, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, Fabinho, and even Jordan Henderson.

This hasn’t been the case though, as Phillips has been dropped to the bench 14 times since his debut against West Ham United at Anfield in late October.

In the Merseyside derby last month, Nat Phillips and Ozan Kabak became the 18th different centre-back pairing which Jurgen Klopp has used this season. The pair first played together when Jordan Henderson injured his groin in the 30th minute of the game. They continued in tandem in the side’s visit to Bramall Lane on Sunday.

I hope and expect the same duo to continue against the visiting Chelsea side, who are just one place (and one point) above us in the league. My emphasis remains on Phillips’ inclusion and here are three reasons why this must happen.