Liverpool consider using Nat Phillips amid defensive injuries

Liverpool could bring Nat Phillips back into the first team after his loan at Celtic in order to provide defensive cover following Joel Matip's injury.

The Reds' defensive depth has been tested of late, following the confirmation that Matip has ruptured his ACL, all but confirming the 32-year-old's absence for the rest of the 2023/24 season.

Jurgen Klopp is also without Andy Robertson at the back, with the Scotland captain expected to return in January as he continues his recovery from shoulder surgery.

Without the two senior figures, Liverpool's defensive options have become thin on the ground, while Ibrahima Konate has also missed games this season with injury.

Various defenders have been linked with Anfield in recent weeks as the transfer window approaches. However, when asked whether Liverpool could use the January window to find cover, Klopp appeared to pour cold water on the idea of a new defensive arrival.

"You always talk about transfers like it is the easiest thing in the world. They all cost money, it must be the right player. We still have four centre-backs. Tell me a club which wants to sell a top, top centre-half. Tell me one," he told reporters.

"Is it now perfect? As long as we can go with those four [centre-backs].

"If not, then it will be a bit more tricky with the amount of games coming up. It was never wonderland when you bring a world-class centre-back until the other one is fit again. As long as other clubs don't put them under the Christmas tree for us and say 'Take it and use it for as long as you need it'... I didn't really think about it yet because it was only five days since we had that problem. I don't think so, to be honest."

While new faces at Anfield in January may be unlikely according to Klopp, the Mirror reports that there could be room for the return of an old one.

It is speculated that Phillips could be 'recalled' from his loan spell at Celtic as an emergency option to ease the defensive burden. However, what is not mentioned by the report is that Phillips' six-month loan deal in Glasgow is set to end next month anyway.

Now 26, Bolton-born Phillips came through Liverpool's academy and has made 29 first-team appearances for the club to date – most notably during the 2020/21 season, when he was promoted amid another injury crisis.

Despite largely impressing across 17 Premier League outings that season, as the Reds secured Champions League qualification amid a number of setbacks, Phillips has struggled for game time in the seasons since and has spent time on loan at Bournemouth (2021/22) and Celtic (2023/24).

The centre back has not enjoyed the best of times in Scotland this season, making just seven appearances for Brendan Rodgers' side – including the recent 2-1 defeat at Kilmarnock, during which he scored an own goal.

The Mirror's report also claims that Rhys Williams – often Phillips' defensive partner in that 2020/21 season – is also a possibility for a recall from his own loan spell at Aberdeen.

The 22-year-old has failed to make a single appearance for the Dons since his move this summer.

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