Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool brought Nat Phillips back from his loan at Stuttgart to help their injury problems after doing ‘really, really well’ in Germany.
The Reds are struggling in central defence with Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren both missing through injury, which has seen Phillips brought back to Anfield.
The 22-year-old has been at Liverpool since 2016 and is yet to make an appearance for the club, but he made his professional debut during his loan spell at Stuttgart this season.
Klopp has been thoroughly impressed with his performances in the 2. Bundesliga and has described the ball-playing qualities Phillips has demonstrated in Germany.
‘He’s our boy, he’s on loan at Stuttgart and is doing really well there,’ Klopp told Liverpool’s official website.
‘For people who don’t know, Stuttgart pretty much should be, together with Hamburg, the best team in the second division. They are third in the moment, they want to get promoted obviously, and they unfortunately sacked the manager because they are not happy with third place so you see how ambitious they are.
‘They are a football-playing side and Nat is doing there really, really well. He played, I think, 11 games.
‘Now we have the situation that we have and we thought “what can we do to help us a little bit?” and we asked Stuttgart if they would be ready to give him back to us for a while and they said “OK”.
Klopp admits that Phillips wasn’t even asked about the return to Merseyside, but is very happy to be back and in contention for a first team place.
‘I don’t think we asked Nat, actually, but he looked really happy yesterday [Friday] when he was in the dressing room so it’s just a nice story that we can do something like this,’ continued the German. ‘I hope that from Everton he will be available.
‘When he was playing he was really good and hopefully we can see that here as well.’
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Liverpool take on Everton in the third round of the FA Cup on 5 January, in which Phillips will hope to be involved, at least on the substitutes’ bench.
The 6′ 3″ centre-back started life at Bolton Wanderers, where his father Jimmy spent much of his career, before switching to the Liverpool academy in 2016.
He has played nine league games and two in the cup for Stuttgart this season.
Matip is expected to make his return from injury in January, but Lovren could be out for much longer with his knee problem.