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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Ozan Kabak, Liverpool FC (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images) /

Building a partnership between Phillips and Kabak

Liverpool’s first-choice central defenders, Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, and Joel Matip have all been ruled out for the rest of the 2020/21 season. Further, skipper Jordan Henderson has also been ruled out for the rest of the month.

This leaves Liverpool with Nat Phillips, Ozan Kabak, Ben Davies, Fabinho, and Rhys Williams as options for spots in central defence. From what we’ve seen so far, Fabinho is the most competent option, but his presence has been sorely missed in midfield.

To make sure that he can return to midfield, Jurgen Klopp must pick two of the four remaining options. At this juncture, Nat Phillips and Ozan Kabak seem to be his preferred choice of defenders. Ben Davies is yet to receive his debut, while Rhys Williams isn’t ready for consistent game-time in the absence of a senior defender to partner with him.

Hence, the visualised partnership of Phillips and Kabak will be crucial until the end of the season. The pair have played 150 minutes of football together and have conceded just the one goal in that period of time.

Albeit 90 of the 150 minutes came against bottom-placed Sheffield United, it could be the start of something special between the two former Stuttgart players. A solid performance against Chelsea could be a decent benchmark for the duo to set for themselves, so as to remain on the manager’s team sheet.