Liverpool went into this season knowing that they didn’t have a lot of room for manoeuvre when it came to defensive injuries, and they are looking particularly stretched just now.
Virgil van Dijk’s injury has been well documented and it looked like Fabinho would play a regular role at the back, but he will miss their game this evening against West Ham.
It means that Nat Phillips has been given the nod from the start, while the starting XI looks pretty strong everywhere else:
Here’s how we line up for tonight’s clash with @WestHam ??
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) October 31, 2020
Phillips isn’t a total stranger to the first team as he was recalled to play in an FA Cup game last season in the middle of a loan spell at Stuttgart, but he’s still very inexperienced at the highest level.
He’ll partner Joe Gomez who will need to step up and become a leader at the back, but it looks like some of the fans are feeling positive about Phillips getting a chance:
Nat Phillips is the best Center back aerially that we currently have fit.
At least according to his Bundesliga 2 stats. Partnering him with Gomez makes complete sense.
— Dave Kaká (@edgeofcoaching) October 31, 2020
Tbh Nat Phillips ain’t even bad. Performs well anytime he plays.
— Sté™? (@Ifcste) October 31, 2020
Nathaniel Phillips is starting? Yayyy ?????? https://t.co/FXnkiJbiQi
— A.G.E. ?? (@YawGerald) October 31, 2020
Pretty sure people lost their heads when Nat Phillips played in the Derby last year. That didn’t turn out too bad, thought he was pretty solid that game…
— Naby Lad (@LFCHalps) October 31, 2020
Go on Nat Phillips! Smash it my friend.
Clean sheet incoming. https://t.co/4RBWprY25D
— Connor Sturt (@ConnorSturt) October 31, 2020
Nat Phillips masterclass incoming.
— ? (@KIopptinho) October 31, 2020
He shouldn’t come under consistent pressure as Liverpool will expect to dominate the game, but West Ham are strong from set pieces and also have the pace to cause issues on the counter attack, so we should get a good idea of how good he is tonight.