Pundit names two Liverpool stars who will cause Champions League run to crumble

Date published: Thursday 11th March 2021 2:55 - Jonny Whitfield

Ozan Kabak, Naby Keita, Jurgen Klopp, Fabinho Liverpool v RB Leipzig March 2021

Liverpool cannot win the Champions League with a centre-back pairing of Nathaniel Phillips and Ozan Kabak, according to one pundit.

The pair helped the Reds keep a clean sheet in Wednesday’s last 16 second leg win over RB Leipzig.

Kabak and Phillips have formed Liverpool’s 18th defensive pairing of the season amid injuries to all three senior options and stand-ins Jordan Henderson and Fabinho.

As such, one could expect more combinations to follow, such has proved the nature of Liverpool’s season.

However, Phillips and Kabak, along with Fabinho in midfield, could finally be a longer-term solution for manager Jurgen Klopp.

According to Craig Burley, though, the stronger teams in the Champions League will find the pairing out.

“Liverpool are not going to win the Champions League with that centre-half pairing, it is just not going to happen,” the pundit told ESPN FC.

“That was two of their best performances against Leipzig, but you are not going to get that leeway if you play [Manchester] City, PSG, Bayern Munich and one or two others.

“They will target those inexperienced centre-halves and that was more down to Leipzig than Liverpool.

“It is very unlikely that you are going to win it or come close to winning that competition with that back four.”

City have looked unstoppable in recent months and put four past Liverpool at Anfield earlier this season. Last season’s champions Bayern are also likely to get through, with Erling Haaland’s Borussia Dortmund also in the quarter-finals.

The draw takes place next Friday, with Chelsea looking to join City and Liverpool.

Klopp hails Phillips’ Liverpool display

Nathaniel Phillips Liverpool v RB Leipzig March 2020

Despite doubts over his capability further into the competition, Phillips looked solid at the back against Leipzig.

Indeed, he earned rave reviews from manager Klopp.

The German said: “Oh my god. What a boy he is, what player he is, what a night it is for him.


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“That’s absolutely great. The concentration level he shows now week in week out since he is playing for us is absolutely incredible.

“He is doing exactly the right things at the right moment. In the air he is a monster and you could see today football-wise he is not bad. I couldn’t he happier for somebody more than I am for Nat at this moment. It was a great game.”

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