JURGEN KLOPP heaped praise on Nat Phillips following his impressive Premier League debut in the win over West Ham.
The Anfield reserves ace was filling in for injured Virgil van Dijk with Klopp’s team caught in the midst of a defensive shortage due to injuries.
Jurgen Klopp was impressed with Nat Phillips’ man of the match performance against West HamCredit: EPA
Phillips, 23, was drafted into the title-holders’ back-four with the Reds, who play Atalanta in the Champions League on Tuesday, missing the services of Joel Matip and Fabinho.
The Bolton-born rising star put on a solid show in Liverpool’s defence, helping them keep their deficit to one goal as they battled back to beat West Ham 2-1 after going behind.
Phillips’ performance earned him a Man of the Match award from Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher with club boss Klopp hailing the player’s shift on the pitch.
Phillips is standing for crocked Anfield skipper Virgil van Dijk with Joel Matip and Fabinho also missingCredit: AP:Associated Press
A converted penalty from Mo Salah, who was accused of cheating by Hammers boss David Moyes, and a Diogo Jota goal was enough to see Liverpool go top of the Prem.
After the game, Klopp told Sky Sports: “The way we defended, with Nat Phillips, wow I couldn’t be more happy.
“Before the game, I asked him if he was nervous and he said ‘no’. I said I would be.
“But it’s good, it keeps you awake. He was confident and did the right things.
“It’s a big thing especially for a guy like Nat who is exceptionally intelligent and three years ago was on his way to America to study at a college.
“Now he plays tonight for Liverpool, it’s a really nice story.”
How Liverpool have fared with and without Van Dijk since his debut in 2018 up to his injury against Everton
Phillips, who is a former Bolton Academy starlet, joined Liverpool in 2016 after a a successful stint as a triallist.
And the up-and-coming centre-back spent last season on loan at Bundesliga 2 team Stuttgart, playing 22 times for the German side.
His only other senior appearance for Liverpool was in an FA Cup clash last season when a stunning Curtis Jones goal gifted the Merseyside giants a win against a full-strength Everton.
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