Premier League • England

Unusual Liverpool transfer announced, with Klopp’s hand forced by ‘desperate’ plea

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp

Arthur Melo has shone since leaving Liverpool

Liverpool have confirmed centre-back Nat Phillips has joined Scottish giant Celtic on loan, though the terms of the agreement aren’t what you might expect.

Phillips, 26, has been on Liverpool’s books since 2016, though has made just 29 first-team appearances since debuting in 2019.

The centre-half has rarely been higher than fifth choice in his favoured position at Anfield. As such, and with opportunities in short supply, the Athletic recently claimed he was ‘desperate’ for regular game-time.

Middlesbrough emerged as one of a cluster of clubs willing to take Phillips on loan. However, it is a move north of the border to Scottish champions Celtic that has crossed the line.

The switch was confirmed by both Liverpool and Celtic’s official websites, though rather than a season-long loan, Phillips has only joined until January.

The vast bulk of loan deals sanctioned in the summer window are season-long affairs. That’s not the case with Phillips and Celtic, however, with the defender due to return to Anfield ahead of the winter window opening its doors.

Speaking on the completed move, Phillips admitted: “I’m really excited. When I heard about the interest it was one that got me excited.

“There were a few other options that didn’t quite make me feel the same as this one did, so I was really keen to get it over the line and I’m delighted to be here now.”

When asked why he chose Celtic amid widespread interest, Phillips added: “It’s the history of the club.

“It’s such a huge club, the club’s aspirations, the level it competes at, the fact that they’re in the Champions League this year and the mentality of the club – they want to be winners in everything they do.”

Phillips will have 18 months remaining on his Liverpool deal once returning to Merseyside come January.

At that stage, a permanent exit may well be explored.

READ MORE: Klopp beaming as big-name Liverpool transfer is ‘agreed’; title-winner pushing for move as he misses training ahead of £26m switch