Journalist names one player who ‘needs to leave’ Liverpool this summer

The Athletic reporter James Pearce has named one Liverpool player who he believes ‘needs to leave’ Anfield this summer for the benefit of his career.

The outlet ran a feature among their pool of reporters highlighting players who, for whatever reason, may be in need of a transfer between now and the end of August.

Nathaniel Phillips was pinpointed as one member of Jurgen Klopp’s squad who may be best served by departing Merseyside, having made just five first-team appearances across all competitions last season (Transfermarkt).

Pearce wrote for The Athletic: “Nat Phillips needs to leave for the sake of his career as he seeks regular first-team action”, citing the same outlet’s report from last week which stated that Leeds are showing interest in a move for the 26-year-old.

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Having now passed the midpoint of his 20s and featured so sparsely last season, it’d be no surprise if the defender were keen to cut the cord with Liverpool at this juncture of his career.

Some might still think of him as an up-and-coming prospect, but he’s actually older than first-team stalwarts like Darwin Nunez, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez and Ibrahima Konate, as well as summer arrivals Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai.

He was very much the Reds’ fifth-choice centre-back last season, playing just 232 senior minutes while the four men ahead of him all had more than 1,600 (Transfermarkt), and it’s telling that the club are being linked with prospective additions in that part of the squad despite his presence at Anfield.

However, Liverpool must be careful not to let Phillips depart too readily. Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip, Gomez and Konate all had spells out injured last term, and it was because of a defensive injury crisis that our number 47 enjoyed a regular run of games during the 2020/21 campaign.

He stepped up to the mark commendably that time, being hailed by Klopp as ‘a monster‘ and ‘insane‘ for his performances as we somehow salvaged a third-place finish in a hugely difficult Premier League season.

The club must also be mindful of keeping within their non-homegrown limits for their domestic squad, with the Bolton-born 26-year-old helping greatly in that regard.

The Anfield hierarchy may be waiting for another centre-back to be brought in before they cash in on Phillips, perhaps choosing to err on the side of caution rather than leaving the manager short if injuries ravage that part of the squad again next term.

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