Premier League • England

Liverpool tipped to invite January bid for defender cast aside by Klopp as new theory emerges

Nat Phillips training with Celtic

Nat Phillips in training with Celtic

The reason for Liverpool only sending Nat Phillips on loan to Celtic for six months could be that they want to listen to permanent offers for the defender in January, it has been claimed.

Phillips recently left Liverpool to join Celtic on loan until January. It came after they failed to find a permanent bidder for the centre-back, who was only given two Premier League appearances by Jurgen Klopp last season.

At the age of 26, the Liverpool academy product will be hoping he can finally find some gametime up in Scotland. However, he could be back to square one in January.

According to ex-Scotland international Alan Hutton, though, Liverpool may simply be anticipating permanent offers from clubs – potentially including Celtic – when the winter transfer window opens.

Asked by Football Insider if the short length of the loan was down to some of Celtic’s injured defenders returning by then, Hutton suggested: “Possibly, that is one way of looking at it.

“But it could also be from Liverpool’s point of view – do they want to sell him on? Do they want a fee in? Could that happen in January? Was it close to happening in the summer?

“There could be multiple things going on in the background. If he kicks on and does well it could possibly be a permanent move for Celtic we will wait and see.”

Phillips’ fate for the long-term still uncertain

By the time his loan spell with Celtic ends, Phillips will be into the final 18 months of his contract with Liverpool, for whom he has only ever played 29 times at senior level.

It feels like a long time since he was an important stand-in member of their starting lineup during an injury crisis in 2021.

Phillips is yet to make his debut for Celtic, but Brendan Rodgers is expected to start relying on him after the international break.

The last time Phillips got the chance to put a decent run of games together was when he was on loan at Bournemouth in 2022. Having endured a stop-start career so far, he will be keen to keep some momentum going beyond the next few months.

Back at Liverpool, he would have still been behind Virgil van Dijk, Ibrahima Konate, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip in the pecking order for a place at centre-back.

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