“Anything could happen” – Premier League manager openly admits he ‘likes’ Liverpool man ‘a lot’ as transfer rumor gathers pace

Watford manager Claudio Ranieri has revealed his admiration for Liverpool defender Nathaniel Phillips as his side aim to secure Premier League survival.

The Hornets have been heavily linked with Phillips, and their manager was asked about the defender ahead of his side’s Premier League clash with Norwich City.

Ranieri revealed that he likes the 24-year-old, although he also stated that his squad is currently full of defenders. However, he did not rule out a move before the end of the window.

The former Leicester City boss said:

”I like, a lot, Phillips. Now we’re very, very full of defenders. Until the end of the market, anything could happen.”

Nat Phillips joined the Liverpool academy from Bolton Wanderers ahead of the 2016-17 season. He made his first-team debut for the Reds in 2019. A defensive crisis saw him make an extended run in the starting lineup during the 2020-21 season. However, he has been out of the picture since then.

The former Stuttgart man is currently behind the likes of Virgil Van Dijk, Ibrahima Konate, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez in the pecking order.

Jurgen Klopp’s decision to call back Rhys Williams from his loan spell at Swansea City suggests that the Liverpool manager could be open to Nat Phillips leaving.

The 2020 Premier League champions have reportedly placed a £15-million valuation on the defender, but it remains to be seen whether Watford will meet this price.

Watford move could give Nat Phillips another crack at regular Premier League football after limited opportunities at Liverpool

Nat Phillips has barely featured in the Premier League this season
Nat Phillips has barely featured in the Premier League this season

Nat Phillips was by no means below par in the few chances he got to impress when Jurgen Klopp had a shortage of bodies in defense.

The defender was simply a victim of the high standards at the club, with some of the players he is competing with among the very best in the world.

There is almost no chance of him being a regular in defense as long as Liverpool have a fully fit squad. He might benefit from a move away to a club with less pressure.

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At 24, Phillips should be entering the peak of his powers and playing regularly rather than settling for a role in the squad.

Watford are currently engaged in a relegation dogfight but have recently climbed out of the relegation zone, with just one point separating them from the bottom three.

Defensive frailty has plagued the Hertfordshire outfit, and they currently have the fourth-worst defense in the Premier League this term.

In light of this, a move for Nat Phillips could help shore up their defense while also helping him get regular playing time.

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Edited by Rachel Syiemlieh

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