Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has this evening sung the praises of Nathaniel Phillips, on the back of the stopper’s standout performance versus West Ham.
Jota makes the difference
The English champions welcomed in-form West Ham to Anfield earlier today, for a Premier League clash.
Liverpool headed into proceedings hoping to keep their recent upturn in form alive, with Klopp’s men having notched three straight wins across all competitions.
And, when all was said and done on Merseyside, the Reds extended this streak to four.
It was actually the visitors who took the lead in the clash, when Pablo Fornals capitalised on a weak defensive header from Joe Gomez to slot home off the inside of the post.
Liverpool levelled things up shortly before the interval, as Arthur Masuaku was adjudged to have fouled Mo Salah in the Hammers’ box, before the Egyptian himself stepped up to lash home from the spot.
The ensuing 40 minutes, for the most part, though, saw the Reds struggle to break down a resilient West Ham backline.
This was until the 85th-minute, when, after being introduced as a substitute, Diogo Jota continued his stellar start to life in Liverpool’s colours with a fine finish, after being slipped in on goal by Xherdan Shaqiri.
Highlights: Liverpool 2-1 West Ham
‘Not Messi but who cares?’
As such, for obvious reasons, the majority of the post-match chatter, amongst fans and the media alike, has centered on match-winner Jota.
A select few, though, have instead focused their attentions on the performance of Nat Phillips.
Amid the injury crisis at the heart of Liverpool’s backline, stopper Phillips was handed a rare start by Jurgen Klopp versus West Ham.
And the 23-year-old went on to fully repay the faith of his boss, barely putting a foot wrong all evening en route to Man of the Match honours:
🥇 Man of the Match, Nat Phillips
PL debut & second senior app for @LFC
9 clearances (6 headed), most in match
6 times possession gained
1 chance created
96 touches pic.twitter.com/g9NnH2GpcO
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) October 31, 2020
One individual who was evidently thoroughly impressed by what he saw from Phillips, meanwhile, was the defender’s manager, Jurgen Klopp.
Speaking during his post-match press conference tonight, Klopp was drawn on the display of the former Bolton Wanderers’ youth.
And, after revealing his happiness for Phillips, the Liverpool boss went on to label the seldom-used stopper ‘a monster’, who proved hugely ‘important’ to the Reds’ victory:
‘The story behind him makes it even more incredible. I’m really pleased for him, he deserves it more than anybody.’
‘He’s a brilliant guy, smart guy, intelligent, everything. He knows everything about himself as a footballer.’
‘He kept it really simple tonight, which was important for us.’
‘He’s not easy on the eye, he’s not Messi but who cares? In the air, he’s a monster! He was incredible.’
‘He was vocal on the pitch and spoke really well, he made the challenges, he was there and was aggressive. He maybe gave away one foul and played a really good game.’
— Liverpool FC News (@LivEchoLFC) October 31, 2020
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has this evening sung the praises of Nathaniel Phillips, on the back of the stopper’s standout performance versus West Ham. Jota makes the difference The English champions welcomed in-form West Ham to Anfield earlier today, for a Premier League clash. Liverpool headed into proceedings hoping to keep their recent upturn inFootball (soccer) greatest goals and highlights | 101 Great Goals – Feed