Premier League • England

Liverpool star ‘desperate’ to leave as surprise new suitors register interest in unfavourable deal

Joe Gomez and Nat Phillips applauding

Liverpool have come to the realisation that they may have to loan Nat Phillips out again, which has prompted Middlesbrough to make contact about the defender, according to a report.

Phillips is fifth in the pecking order for a place at centre-back in the Liverpool lineup. Indeed, Jurgen Klopp would generally prefer to use Virgil van Dijk, Ibrahima Konate, Joel Matip or Joe Gomez there. With that in mind, the academy graduate has been expected to leave this summer.

By the final few days of the transfer window, though, Phillips remains a Liverpool player. He was linked with Leeds United earlier this summer, as well as Dutch champions Feyenoord, while it has more recently been suggested that he could return to his former loan club, Stuttgart.

According to an update by James Pearce for The Athletic, though, Middlesbrough have now registered their interest in Phillips.

It is claimed that Phillips is ‘desperate’ to play more, which won’t be happening at Liverpool. In acknowledgement of his wishes, his current employers have opened up to loaning him out again, even if it would seemingly be better for them to accept a permanent offer.

Middlesbrough are now trying to take him to the Championship for a season, by the end of which he will be 27 years old and into the final year of his Liverpool contract.

The report reminds that Phillips has come close to leaving Liverpool before, but injuries in their defence have prevented them from letting him go. Ironically, Konate is expected to be out until after the September international break, while Van Dijk is suspended for their next match as well.

But this time, it appears Liverpool will finally bid farewell to Phillips, who has made 29 appearances for them but only five since the start of last season.

Another short-term solution for Phillips

By loaning him out, they will have to find another solution for him again next year. But from the player’s perspective, this could be the kind of opportunity he has been waiting for.

Middlesbrough finished fourth in the Championship last season, but lost in the play-off semi-finals. They are yet to win from their four league matches so far this season, but in the long term will be looking towards the higher end of the table again if all goes to plan.

Phillips was previously part of a Bournemouth squad that won promotion from the Championship during a previous loan spell. Therefore, his experience – even if he has relatively few appearances to his name for a player of his age – could come in handy for Middlesbrough.

Michael Carrick’s side have also signed Rav van den Berg – the brother of the Liverpool-owned Sepp – to strengthen their defence this summer, as one of nine new arrivals.

Liverpool, meanwhile, are also expected to loan out another defender in the shape of Billy Koumetio to build experience this season.