Klopp to say reluctant goodbye to Liverpool hero as £15m transfer nears

Date published: Tuesday 20th July 2021 9:35 - James Marshment

Nat Phillips, Liverpool stand-in hero

Liverpool are ready to sanction the sale of Nat Phillips with Brighton reportedly preparing a £15m approach for the dependable Reds stand-in.

The 24-year-old has put himself firmly in the shop window for a new club after his stellar performances last season. Amid a host of defensive injuries for the Reds, the Englishman stepped up to lead Jurgen Klopp’s line. Indeed, he often played alongside youngster Rhys Williams, such was the lack of options.

However, having had a taste of first-team football, Phillips could look to move on this summer. With Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez all returning to fitness, the Reds have also signed £36million Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig.

That has relegated Phillips to fifth choice in Jurgen Klopp’s pecking order.

According to recent reports, Klopp wants to keep Phillips around next season.

However, should he ask to leave, though, the Reds will demand £15million – a fee the Seagulls are willing to match.

The likes of Burnley, Southampton, Newcastle and Brighton have all been mentioned as suitors. But now Graham Potter’s side have stepped forward and made clear their intention to match his £15m asking price.

According to The Athletic, the south-coast side are ‘poised to step up their interest’ in Liverpool’s No 48.

Phillips is described as “a leading choice” by Potter as he looks to “restore the numbers” in his defence.

Indeed, Phillips will prove an instant replacement for England defender Ben White, who is heading to Arsenal for £50m.

Phillips will add to Potter’s defensive options with Lewis Dunk, Adam Webster and Dan Burn already at their disposal.

However, his sale will swell to Liverpool’s financial pot. They are also close to sealing the sales of both Marko Grujic and Taiwo Awoniyi , who will net a combined £17m.

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Klopp praise for Phillips

Speaking in May, Klopp lauded Phillips and 20-year-old Williams for stepping up so effectively for Liverpool.

“These two boys, playing like that, it is incredible, absolutely incredible,” the manager said. “That was a proper crash course in a Premier League education, and they have learned so much.

“It’s a sign for all our kids at Liverpool in the academy. It’s possible – it shows it’s possible… just work hard.

“These boys they are obviously not skilled like crazy, they had to work incredibly hard. And now they are proper, proper Premier League players. And that’s exactly how it can work. I am really happy for them.”

READ MORE: Atletico chief offers two-sentence response to Liverpool, Saul Niguez move


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