Premier League • England

Liverpool readying move for 19-game PL centre-back in January without paying a penny

Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool, December 2023

Jurgen Klopp smiles after Liverpool game

Liverpool are reportedly not planning on triggering the option to keep Nathaniel Phillips at Celtic for the second-half of the season, and will bring him back to Anfield for cover.

Phillips has been a Reds player since moving to their academy from Bolton. The defender made his senior debut for the club in the 2019/20 campaign, playing the full 90 minutes of a 1-0 win over Everton.

He also went out on loan to Stuttgart that same season, playing 19 times for the Bundesliga outfit.

The following term, a crisis at the back at Liverpool meant Phillips was required to play a fair few games.

Indeed, the centre-back played 19 times in the Premier League, starting on 15 occasions. His centre-back partners included Jordan Henderson, Ozan Kabak and Rhys Williams, highlighting the gravity of the Reds’ issues.

After winning the league the season prior, the Anfield outfit finished third, way off the pace that term.

Phillips has played just 11 times for Liverpool since then, and is currently out on loan at Celtic.

But he’s played just six times in the Scottish Premiership this term, and it was recently reported Jurgen Klopp was considering cutting short the nightmare period at Celtic Park to welcome Phillips back into his squad.

Liverpool make call on Phillips return

It sounds as if they’ve now made their choice on the matter.

Indeed, Football Insider reports Liverpool ‘are set to recall’ Phillips from that loan.

They have the option to trigger an extension of his loan period for the second-half of the season, but given he’s largely sitting on the sidelines, the Reds ‘are not expected’ to do so.

He’ll head back to his parent club and is likely to fight for a place in the side.

Phillips creates added depth

If Phillips is not sent out on another loan, then he’ll add to the depth at centre-back in the Liverpool squad.

There are already five senior central defenders at Klopp’s disposal.

However, Joel Matip will be out for months as a result of a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament, and Joe Gomez and Ibrahima Konate have recently struggled for fitness.

That being said, having another option at the back seems useful for Liverpool.

After coming back from an underwhelming spell at Celtic, Phillips could get himself some minutes at Anfield.

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