Liverpool defender Nat Phillips almost joined Benfica on deadline day, according to the Athletic.
The outlet reports that Jurgen Klopp prevented the move from happening as he felt he needed Phillips due to injuries to key defenders.
The Portuguese giants made a ‘financially attractive’ loan offer for the Englishman, but due to Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate’s fitness issues, the centre-back was informed that he must remain at Anfield.
It’s understood that Phillips was keen on the opportunity to switch the North West of England for Lisbon, but accepted the decision that Klopp made to keep him.
The defender excelled last season on loan at Bournemouth in the Championship as the Cherries won promotion back to the Premier League.
The 25-year-old made 18 appearances under Scott Parker, and this form resulted in interest from a host of clubs, including Bournemouth and Southampton.
With Matip being integrated back into the side after his lay-off and Konate expected to return in a month, Phillips, who Klopp once dubbed 'incredible', will likely soon be relegated to the fifth choice option in the Reds’ defence.
The Athletic’s report suggests that the Merseyside club will reassess the situation in January and potentially allow the Bolton-born man to leave then.
Phillips joined the Liverpool academy from Bolton in 2016 and made his debut in January 2020.
He’s gone on to make just 25 appearances for the Reds’ first team since this debut, although has spent two seasons out on loan, including managing 22 appearances at Stuttgart in 2019.
The 6’3 defender played a prominent role in Liverpool’s 2020/21 season, playing 17 times in the Premier League as Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez suffered from long-term injuries.
It was in this period when Phillips developed a cult following amongst Reds supporters, and is now seen as a fan favourite on Merseyside.
Despite this overwhelming support from the club’s fanbase, you’d expect him to secure a move in January when Klopp has a plethora of central defenders at his disposal.
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