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'It would be sad if my career already peaked' - Liverpool defender Phillips determined to build on Leipzig performance

11:22 GMT 15/03/2021
Nat Phillips Liverpool 2020-21
The 23-year-old has enjoyed a surprising breakthrough at Anfield in 2020-21 and is eager to continue proving his worth

Nat Phillips hopes he has not already “peaked” at Liverpool in a surprising breakthrough campaign in 2020-21, with the 23-year-old aware of what he needs to do in order to retain a place in Jurgen Klopp’s plans.

Injuries to others have worked in favour of the Anfield academy graduate this season, with the absence of Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip allowing him to make 10 appearances.

One of his most impressive showings was against RB Leipzig as the Reds made their way into the Champions League quarter-finals, but the plan is to ensure there will be many more highs to come.

What has been said?

Phillips, who made his Premier League debut against West Ham in October, told The Telegraph: “It would be sad if I go on with the rest of my career and it is already peaked. That would be a shame.

“It is important to me that it [the game against Leipzig] does not become the biggest occasion or best game that I have ever played in.

“I try not to think about it too much because you can tie yourself in knots. My thought process is to take things day by day. I want to continue to keep having those moments. To be able to do that I have to be competing at a very high level in my career.” 

The bigger picture

Phillips has played in nine top-flight fixtures this season and one continental clash.

He is aware that added competition will be faced as injured stars return to the fold and decisions are made on whether or not to dip into the transfer market for further reinforcements.

Phillips, though, is adamant that he has what it takes to remain part of the Reds’ ranks on a long-term basis.

He said: “If you had asked me at the start of this year if I am capable of playing in the Premier League I would have said yes.

“Whether it would have been with Liverpool I’m not sure, because the demands are so much higher on a Liverpool player, but certainly I would have been able to play in a Premier League game and do a job. 

“With any player the more games you play in a team, the more you do feel like you belong. I won’t get carried away with it. I don’t want to catch myself becoming complacent and not putting in the amount of work I need to stay at this level.

“At a club like Liverpool that you can ever rest on your laurels and think, ‘I am safe now.’ It doesn’t work like that. You have to earn your right to play every week with training and performances. If you buy into the idea I am there, I relax a bit, you could end up paying.”

Liverpool will be back in action on Monday when they travel to Wolves.

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