Nathaniel Phillips has shown profound maturity after being asked about Ibrahima Konate’s move to Liverpool after becoming a fan favourite over the last six months.
Three days before the deal was confirmed by the club, we reported that Ibra Konate would sign for the Reds for a total of £54.2million and his arrival signals a major cut in game time for Nat Phillips.
The French defender joins Liverpool as part of the club’s solution to the defensive injury crisis that decimated their chances of success but Phillips deserves huge credit for helping get the Reds to a third-place finish in the Premier League.
Yet, despite his game time being likely to be slashed ahead of next season, Phillips has shown astonishing maturity after being interviewed about Konate’s move to Anfield and says it’s a chance to learn more.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Phillips said: “It’s no surprise (to see Konate signed). Liverpool is a huge club and they are always going to have huge competition for places.
“You always have to compete for your place in the team. Even though there is a lot of competition, I see it as another person to try and learn from. A new person’s game I get to see up close, see how they play and see if I can take anything from that.
“At Liverpool, there is always going to be high competition for a place on the pitch. No matter who you are, you don’t have a right to play for them and certainly not myself.”
We understand that Konate will go straight into the starting XI and is expected to partner Virgil van Dijk at the back if the Dutchman’s recovery from an anterior cruciate ligament tear continues according to plan.
Phillips will likely play a lot less next season as Konate arrives alongside injury returns from van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip.
Liverpool will go into the new season with five senior centre-halves following a campaign that saw Klopp forced to field TWENTY different centre-back pairings and the pairing which played the most (Kabak and Phillips) only played together for around seven games’ worth of minutes (650 minutes).