Liverpool FC

Jurgen Klopp hails Nat Phillips' Merseyside derby performance

Robbie Copeland
Feb 21, 2021, 3:00 PM GMT
Phillips was introduced for Henderson at half-time in the derby defeat
Phillips was introduced for Henderson at half-time in the derby defeat | Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp has thrown his faith behind Nat Phillips to solve Liverpool's latest injury conundrum, after makeshift centre-back Jordan Henderson was forced off in the 2-0 defeat to Everton at Anfield.

While it's a major stretch to frame injuries as the primary cause of Liverpool's whimpering title defence, they have been one of the dominant themes, and reared their head again on Saturday evening as the Reds went down to Everton on home turf for the first time in 22 years.

With Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Fabinho all on the sidelines for the derby, Henderson filled in at centre-back alongside January signing Ozan Kabak, but he went off with a painful injury around the half-hour mark.

It initially appeared to be a hamstring problem, but Klopp confirmed after the game that the issue is in the groin region, and doesn't look great for the captain.

He told the Liverpool website: “It’s the groin/adductor region and nobody in the medical department was positive about it.

“It doesn’t look good, but we have to wait, of course, for the scan tomorrow, hopefully.”

While many expected Ben Davies to make his Liverpool debut from the bench after Henderson went off, Klopp stuck with what he knew, and threw on Phillips for his seventh appearance of the season.

And while the 23-year-old couldn't prevent a humbling defeat, Klopp was full of praise for his battling performance, and backed the Bolton-born defender to take on a more prominent role in Henderson's absence.

In his press conference, Klopp said: "We have options, of course, but it makes it really difficult. But Nat was not the reason we lost.

"Hendo in the beginning of the game was really dominant, especially offensively. So, yes, it is a massive blow losing Hendo again. Massive.

"But Nat played a super game. Again, we unfortunately got used to it that we have to change things and we just try to set up again for the next game. As long as we have 11 players we will do that."