Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that Liverpool will not prevent Nat Phillips departing the club in January should the defender want to move.
Phillips emerged from obscurity last season to fill in at centre-back when the Reds were in the midst of a horrific injury crisis, making 20 appearances in all competitions and rarely putting a foot wrong.
However, since Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez have returned from injury and Ibrahima Konate has arrived at Anfield from RB Leipzig, the Bolton-born stopper has slipped back down the pecking order.
Phillips provided a timely reminder of his talent during his side’s Champions League victory over Milan on Tuesday, putting in a stoic display and looking comfortable in possession.
That display has reignited rumours that he could leave the club in January and speaking before Liverpool’s meeting with Aston Villa this weekend, Klopp revealed that the club would not stand in Phillips’ way if he wanted to move on.
“I’m very happy that Nat is here, to be honest, but we will not block anything I think,” Klopp told his pre-match press conference.
“It’s not the plan at all but who knows what happens until January.”
Newcastle and West Ham have both been linked with the defender, and there would be no shortage of other suitors if Phillips was made available.
HIs chances of a transfer were seemingly dealt a blow when it was revealed that he had suffered a fractured cheekbone, but Klopp denied that would have any effect on negotiations.
“It’s not the luckiest moment for this but by the end of January he will be completely fine, definitely. Probably in the middle of January, I don’t know exactly,” he added. “We will see everything will be completely fine. It’s not complicated, it’s just not cool.
“We will see what it does mean exactly but in the long term it’s no problem because everything will be fine for Nat, definitely.”
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