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LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, August 15, 2022: Liverpool's Nathaniel Phillips during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool denied late Champions League offer for Nat Phillips

With Nat Phillips staying at Liverpool until at least January, reports have emerged of a lucrative loan offer for the 25-year-old at the end of the transfer window.

It was a busy summer for Liverpool, and one of those touted with a permanent exit before September 1 was Phillips, following a successful loan at Bournemouth.

The newly promoted Cherries were among the centre-back’s suitors, along with clubs in Germany, Italy and elsewhere in the Premier League and Championship.

But with Joel Matip, Ibrahima Konate and Joe Gomez already suffering injuries at one stage or another this season, and Ben Davies, Rhys Williams and Sepp van den Berg all departing permanently or on loan, Phillips has stayed put.

Liverpool’s No. 47 will serve as fifth-choice centre-back, with Jurgen Klopp unwilling to leave himself short again following the disaster of 2020/21.

That meant turning down a high-profile loan offer from Benfica the day before the transfer deadline, according to The Athletic‘s James Pearce.

Pearce writes that “it was an opportunity Phillips would have relished,” with the Portuguese side offering Champions League football under a manager, Roger Schmidt, who had “admired [him] since his loan stint at Stuttgart in 2019/20.”

The offer was described as “financially attractive” due to a loan fee on top of the proposed wage contribution, but Liverpool opted to reject it.

Klopp is said to have “explained the situation” and his defender “accepted that stance with the kind of professionalism that has made him such a popular figure at Kirkby.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, August 15, 2022: Liverpool's Nathaniel Phillips during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool received a similar offer from Southampton, which was also rebuffed, while Burnley were not of interest to Phillips and Bournemouth saw “multiple offers, both loan and permanent” denied due to injuries at Anfield.

While the ex-Bolton youngster has already made one appearance this season – starting in the 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace – it is hard not to sympathise with him following this update.

Back in May, Phillips admitted his desire was to “continue playing regularly, week in, week out, ideally in the Premier League,” which he will not be able to do at Liverpool.

Instead, he will provide cover for Matip, Konate and Gomez alongside Virgil van Dijk, with sporadic appearances in the FA Cup and League Cup if required.

Turning 26 in March, it is not ideal for a player of Phillips’ calibre, particularly given the prospect of playing for Benfica, but he should be commended for his continued efforts with the Reds.

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