‘Bolton Baresi’ Nat Phillips Just Ended His Liverpool Story In Style – Liverpool FC

Football, like life, is full of sliding door moments.

In a parallel universe, Nat Phillips will close out his first season as an MLS player in the United States after completing his economics degree and football scholarship at the University of North Carolina.

Instead, he is lining up at the San Siro for Liverpool, making Cruyff’s bounce on Zlatan Ibrahimovic and literally sending Franck Kessie ‘to Echo’ – leaving the Milan midfielder in his rear that.

“I’m looking forward to seeing that game again,” he told the club’s official website after the game. “That is [a GIF] I’ll have to keep it so I can send it off! “

This is Phillips’ first season start and only his fourth in Champions League – two of the previous three were in the quarter-final against Real Madrid. At least, it’s one of the most unique football careers the 24-year-old has had to date.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, August 7, 2018: Nathaniel Phillips of Liverpool during a pre-season friendly between Liverpool FC and Torino FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe / Propaganda)

Five years ago, freed by the cash-strapped Bolton Wanderers, he was so close to Stateside to complete his scholarship in Charlotte that even flights and accommodation had been booked. His arrival was announced by the Charlotte 49ers college team.

But two days before that flight, Liverpool offered him the chance to go to Germany before the season to train with them. “It was a little bit bizarre,” he recalls. “When you’re young, you don’t have to train all your life to play college football in the US, it’s about becoming a professional soccer player, ideally in the UK in the future. Premier League. ”

At 19, Phillips is an oddball signing for Liverpool and his first season saw Mamadou Sakho and Tiago Ilori play ahead of him for the under-23 team. A loan move to Germany’s second division Stuttgart was followed before a mid-season recall saw him make his Liverpool debut in the match FA Cup against Everton.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 5, 2020: Nathaniel Phillips of Liverpool during the FA Cup third round match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC, the 235th Merseyside Derby, at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe / Propaganda)

It looks like this will be his only appearance for the club. At least he will always have that he played for Liverpool, at Anfield, in a Merseyside derby. No one can take that away from him.

But last season’s injury crisis at Anfield added another moment for Phillips and he was eventually included in the XI starting XI, starting 14 of the Reds’ last 19 games and playing a role. important in Jurgen Kloppparty of qualified for Champions League Again.

Signed May of Ibrahima KonateIt’s been pretty clear, though, that Klopp has different ideas than some of his supporters, who have gone too far and heralded Phillips as a return. Virgil van DijkNew midfielder’s partner.

MILAN, Italy - Tuesday, December 7, 2021: Liverpool's Nathaniel Phillips (R) challenges a header against AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic? in the UEFA Champions League Group B match on Friday between AC Milan and Liverpool FC at the Stadio San Siro. (Photo by David Rawcliffe / Propaganda)

So again, it looks like his Liverpool career will come to an end. Five clubs were declared interested, including Burnley, Brighton and Newcastle. Liverpool, though, are said to want £15m – so it’s perhaps no surprise that a move doesn’t materialize, especially in a post-pandemic transfer market.

There was no transfer, instead, Liverpool unexpectedly handed Phillips a new contract on deadline day, even though he was the fifth central defender choice behind Van Dijk. Joel Matip, Konate and Joe Gomez.

So Phillips’ first appearance of any kind this season only comes in early October, in Liverpool’s Papa John’s Trophy under-21s against hometown club Bolton – the match that he asked to play.

MILAN, Italy - Tuesday, December 7, 2021: Liverpool's Takumi Minamino, Kostas Tsimikas, Fabio Henrique Tavares'Fabinho', Nathaniel Phillips and Naby Keita welcome traveling supporters after the UEFA Champions Group B match League match 6 between AC Milan and Liverpool FC at Stadio San Siro. (Photo by David Rawcliffe / Propaganda)

But while Phillips has only made one appearance for Liverpool’s first team this season, it is fitting that it was in the iconic scene of the San Siro Stadium, ‘Bolton Baresi’ facing Ibrahimovic, block overhead kicks, lose the muscle of forward aging, and of course, that Cruyff returned to his own box.

You could say, this is a reward for his work in bringing Liverpool in Champions League this season. It could also be his last appearance for the Reds.

Adding to Phillips’ cult hero status is the way Klopp speaks of him – just last week comparing him to Robert Lewandowski. “People often ask me which player has made the biggest progress under my leadership, and I say Robert Lewandowski,” Klopp explained. “That’s probably true, but it’s not far off Nat Phillips just in a completely different department.

“He is one of the smartest players I have ever worked with. I said to him ‘You know I’m not the best looking right?’ but he’s improved quite a bit since then, and he’s not playing.

“Life isn’t fair sometimes and I can’t blame him. We can’t keep him forever, that’s clear. We needed him, just to be safe, for that half a year. We will see what happens in the window”.

One of the teams believed to have made a move to recruit the 24-year-old in the summer is expected to call in January, most likely Newcastle. They will get a solid player and obviously a good guy.

Phillips will leave Liverpool as a true cult hero. His story is unique and he won’t get the chance to play at the highest level. It’s also another interesting story that football has so much to offer; Don’t give up on your dreams, take a chance, work hard and with a little luck you can achieve what you dream of.

https://www.thisisanfield.com/2021/12/bolton-baresi-nat-phillips-just-finished-his-liverpool-story-in-style/ ‘Bolton Baresi’ Nat Phillips Just Ended His Liverpool Story In Style – Liverpool FC

Jake Nichol

Jake Nichol is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Jake Nichol joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: jakenichol@24ssports.com.

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