Premier League • England

Liverpool cite surprise example after setting strict demands for likely January exit

Nat Phillips, Kostas Tsimikas December 2021

Liverpool are using another Premier League transfer as a guide after setting an asking price for Nat Phillips that they will stick to, according to a report.

Phillips took his chance to impress in the Liverpool first team after a number of injuries in defence last season. After those ahead of him in the pecking order recovered, it was thought he would leave in the summer. But surprisingly, he signed a new contract instead.

Predictably, chances have still been few and far between for the 24-year-old. He has not featured at all in the Premier League this season. His only start came in the Champions League against AC Milan recently.

Therefore, he is now willing to re-assess his future. Indeed, he has confirmed in an interview that he wants more regular gametime elsewhere.

According to The Athletic, Liverpool will oblige and sell Phillips in January. They will be standing firm over his valuation, though. The report claims they want £15m to sanction his sale.

Although that fee seems somewhat steep for a player they are barely using, they feel it is justified due to how much he has developed over the past year. Furthermore, they would point to the fact that Nathan Collins joined Burnley from Stoke for a similar fee in the summer, despite having no Premier League pedigree.

It remains to be seen whether any of Phillips’ suitors agree with Liverpool’s stance. The report reveals two clubs in particular who are keen.

West Ham have been heavily linked to complete a transfer that may give Phillips a similar chance to the one he got last season. Injuries to Angelo Ogbonna and Kurt Zouma mean the Hammers have spaces to fill at centre-back.

West Ham are interested in Liverpool's Nat Phillips

West Ham are preparing a £15million bid for Nat Phillips.

In addition, The Athletic remind that Newcastle have also been linked with Phillips. Eddie Howe wants to reinforce a leaky defence to improve their chances of escaping the drop.

The report states that there are “a number of clubs” in the top-flight to have registered an interest. Those are the only two who are strongly hinted at, though.

For now, Phillips is still on the sidelines due to a fractured cheekbone that he suffered in the Milan match. He should be back next month, though, and so his hopes of a move will not be affected.

Klopp addresses Nat Phillips colleague in January transfer hint

Jurgen Klopp smiling before a Liverpool game

Phillips is not the only defender not getting as much gametime for Liverpool as he would be hoping for this season.

Virgil van Dijk instantly reclaimed his starting role when returning from an ACL injury. His main partner from before that setback, though, has not been next to him for the most part.

Joe Gomez also suffered a serious injury after van Dijk last season. He has not been able to re-establish himself in the side to the same extent since.

Instead, Joel Matip has shaken off his injury issues to prove himself next to van Dijk again. In addition, summer signing Ibrahima Konate is trying to show why the club have invested in him.

Therefore, there have been doubts about the future of Gomez. But Jurgen Klopp has urged him to be patient, letting slip an overall strategy in the process.

“It was obviously not the best year for him [Gomez], but that’s how it goes,” said Klopp. “We are patient, and Joe is patient.

“I have no plans to give anybody on loan in the winter.”

On a permanent basis, though, the plans could be different for Phillips.

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