A man after Virgil van Dijk‘s heart, Nat Phillips‘ love for a clean sheet knows no bounds as even a debut Liverpool goal did not come close to keeping Burnley off the scoreboard.
The 24-year-old is not fond of calling his season a ‘fairy tale’ as he only wants it to act as a springboard for what is to come, and he took another step forward on Wednesday night.
Phillips’ headed goal was significant in a number of ways, the first being that it was his maiden goal for the club and the second that it established a welcome buffer on the scoresheet.
With the top-four race potentially going down to goal difference after Leicester‘s defeat, it was a needed boost which Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would later add to.
Crucially, at the other end of the field Phillips was on hand to clear off the line to complete a successful shutout at Burnley, who had 3,500 fans behind them.
And while many would point to the goal as the shining moment, it was the case for the defender who takes pride in nullifying the opposition.
“The one that I cleared off the line, everytime!” Phillips told Sky Sports post-match when asked what gave him more pleasure, his clearance or his goal.
“Yeah, it’s my job to stop the ball from going in the net, to stop goals. If I can get on the scoresheet, happy days, a bit of a bonus. But I’d much rather have a clean sheet.”
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It’s an attitude which has helped assist Liverpool throughout a great period of turbulence at the back, as irrespecive of his quality he has more than done the job asked of him.
Now, a final awaits against Crystal Palace in front of 10,000 fans at Anfield on Sunday, where a win would all but guarantee top-four.
“All we can do is concentrate on our games and make sure we win. Obviously we know now that if we win the next game, as long as Leicester don’t score a load of goals, then the job has been done,” Phillips added.
“I’m looking foward to it, it’s going to be a good weekend. I’m excited. What we’ve got to do now is recover, rest up, prepare ourselves for one last push and, hopefully, finish in that Champions League spot.”