Former Liverpool defender Steve Nicol has blasted centre-back Nat Phillips for his performance against Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday night.
Nicol says that Liverpool cannot afford to have a player like Phillips in their XI as he is not able to get the basics of his starting position right as a defender.
He says Phillips showed a complete lack of experience and it was no surprise that his inclusion in the team resulted in three goals for Real.
“The two goals he was involved in are [about] starting positions.
“That comes down to experience and you can’t afford to have a player in such an important position who can’t get the first basic principle of defending, and that’s [getting] the starting position right.
“So no surprise you lose goals.”
ANFIELD WATCH VERDICT
These quotes seem overly harsh on the defender from Nicol. He mentions a lack of experience being the cause of his performance, but Gini Wijnaldum is 30 and has made over 200 Premier League appearances and he was stood still watching Luka Modric bring the ball inside for Real’s third goal. No matter how experienced or inexperienced a player is, they are capable of having a bad game.
Has Lionel Messi scored in every single game he has ever played? No. That is not to say that Phillips is comparable to Messi, but it does show that even the best of the best have off days, so Phillips is allowed one as well. Phillips was not being told he is too inexperienced to play for Liverpool when he was helping the club keep a clean sheet in a 2-0 win over RB Leipzig in the same competition last month. Phillips recorded a WhoScored rating of 7.07 against Leipzig, proving that he is capable of putting in a good display at European level.
The 24-year-old has also averaged an impressive WhoScored rating of 7.03 in the Premier League. helping the club to five wins and four clean sheets in nine starts. This goes to show that Phillips has been a reliable option for Jurgen Klopp and his mistakes against Real Madrid may be the exception rather than the normality. So, hopefully, Phillips can silence Nicol with a strong performance against Real in the second leg to send Liverpool through to the semi-finals.
I’m a 22-year-old football writer from Lowestoft. I produce, edit, and publish articles for Anfield Watch full-time.