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Liverpool hand Nat Phillips new contract in shock U-turn on future

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Despite a long-held expectation that Nat Phillips would leave Liverpool this summer, the centre-back has now signed a new four-year contract with a wage increase.

Phillips was tipped to secure a permanent switch away from Anfield before Tuesday’s deadline, with Newcastle, Burnley, Brighton and Southampton among the clubs interested.

Liverpool were seeking a fee of around £12 million for a player who, following the arrival of Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig, dropped to fifth in the centre-back pecking order.

But with no suitable offers emerging for the 24-year-old, the club have instead handed him a pay rise with a contract extension that ties him to the Reds until 2025.

The Englishman, who fills a valuable homegrown slot in the Premier League squad, stays as cover for a centre-back cohort that includes Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez along with Konate.

It is a shock move considering Phillips was seen as up for sale throughout the summer, and particularly as he has not been included in any of the first three matchday squads of the campaign.

Phillips is unlikely to feature often throughout the season either, but Jurgen Klopp clearly rates him as a useful player in training and when required in games.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 23, 2021: Liverpool's Nathaniel Phillips, wearimng a head bandage, during the final FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The news follows a new four-year contract for Jordan Henderson which takes the captain beyond his 35th birthday, with both moves certainly jarring with the progressive, calculated approach taken by the club in recent years.

Parallels can arguably be drawn between Phillips’ new deal and that given to Divock Origi on the back of his goals against Barcelona and Tottenham in the Champions League in 2019.

Origi has struggled to make an impact since being handed that five-year contract, and Liverpool have subsequently struggled to shift him in the transfer market.


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