Nat Phillips has enjoyed a fine season with the Cherries in the Championship, helping Scott Parker’s side to promotion – with reports the defender could be on the move again this summer
Image: Graham Hunt/ProSports/REX/Shutterstock)
Liverpool are considering the possibility of allowing defender Nat Phillips to return to Bournemouth on loan next season.
The Reds were set to cash in on the 25-year-old centre-back after helping the Cherries regain promotion to the Premier League during a successful six-month stint with the south coast club.
But Phillips’ impressive form has prompted a rethink at Anfield – and it’s believed he could become a long-term replacement for Joel Matip. Bolton-born Phillips signed a four-year deal with the Reds last summer after impressing Jurgen Klopp during the injury crisis that sidelined Virgil van Dijk, Matip and Joe Gomez.
He was cleared for loan at Bournemouth last January following the trio’s return to action and the arrival of Ibrahima Konate. Phillips settled both on and off the field at Vitality Stadium.
And Liverpool are now considering the possibility of allowing him to return for a season in the top flight in a deal that would see Bournemouth pay a loan fee.
Speaking about his time on the south coast with Scott Parker, the defender said: “I enjoyed every minute. I said from the start when people asked me about it, it’s very detailed and meticulous in the way he plans games.
“The way he defines his teams and the way he approaches the matches are very clear in the instructions he gives us. Also, in the messages he wants to deliver to us and in the sessions he also offers; they correspond exactly to what we wanted to achieve.
“I enjoyed every minute and also the other side of the game, the more emotional side and that side of things, I feel like he’s good at exploiting that side of things. So it’s a pleasure to work under him.”
Jurgen Klopp paid tribute to Phillips ahead of the Champions League final last month, after his makeshift partnership with Rhys Williams helped them to a top-four finish against overwhelming odds in 2020/21.
“I messaged Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips because we wouldn’t be here without them,” Klopp told Sky Sports. “I remember the last game of last season and they left the pitch with a bandage around their head, cuts on their face, and that was really a symbol for the whole period. We went on one leg, with one eye… it was unbelievable. It was such a difficult season.
He added: “I hope no one has forgotten how hard we fought to get here. We felt it mentally. The public didn’t hesitate to tell us that we underperformed and everything. this kind of things.
“You’re trying to figure it out, you’re thinking, ‘Wait a minute, we’re up against some of the strongest league teams in the world who have played most of the time without our full defence. We didn’t have a midfielder, we had to play midfielders in the back row and then we had to use other players in midfield and nothing really worked.
“In the end, we played with two incredible players – Rhys and Nat – but we couldn’t use them earlier because they needed time to adapt. So yeah, there was a little point to prove and I’m really glad the boys did that.