April 17, 2021

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Nat Phillips’ former coach gives verdict on his rise at Liverpool this season

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Phillips has been called upon to injuries in defence (Picture: Getty Images)

Nat Phillips taking his chance at Liverpool is ‘not a surprise’, according to his former coach at Stuttgart Pellegrino Matarazzo.

Reds academy product Phillips spent the 2019/20 campaign on loan at Stuttgart in the German second division and helped them gain promotion to the Bundesliga.

Upon his arrival back at Anfield, the 24-year-old expected to go out on loan to a Championship club but instead ended up being afforded an unlikely opportunity in Jurgen Klopp’s senior side.

Phillips’ success has not surprised Matarazzo (Picture: Getty Images)

After injuries to key defenders Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, the 24-year-old was thrust into action despite only having limited experience of first-team football.

The Englishman has made 11 Premier League appearances this season and alongside January loan signing Ozan Kabak, has helped the Reds keep three clean sheets in a row across all competitions.

And Matarazzo has heaped praise on the centre-back and admitted he has not been surprised by his rapid ascent this season.

‘He is a good guy so I am happy for him that he is doing so well at Liverpool,’ Matarazzo told Sky Sports.

‘It is not a surprise how he has handled this. He is a top character. You cannot get much better as a human being.

‘He is a great guy who is very ambitious. He needed to get his chance but I am not surprised that he has taken that chance.

‘Nat is a great team player. He works hard on the pitch. He is a guy who brings the team together, on the field and off the field.

‘He brings a lot of emotion into his game, goes hard into the tackles.

‘I would like to believe he also developed on the field as a footballer during his time here at Stuttgart where we played an offensive style even in the second division.’

MORE : Graeme Souness makes Champions League quarter-final predictions, including Real Madrid v Liverpool and Manchester City v Borussia Dortmund

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