Nat Phillips admits his Liverpool future is uncertain following the arrival of Ibrahima Konate at the club from RB Leipzig.
Phillips starred for the Reds in the wake of a central defensive injury crisis that saw Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip ruled out for much of last season.
Despite the efforts of the defender, Liverpool moved to sign Konate for £36 million from Leipzig and, with competition for places set to be intense, Phillips admits that his future at Anfield hangs in the balance.
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What did he say?
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, he said: “I think the situation is, initially they didn’t anticipate me having the season and putting in the performances that I did do.
“Maybe where they might have thought I was just going to do a job and then they would be able to sell me and I would move on, now they’re having second thoughts. I’m not sure.
“I still need to have the conversations with them and just see if there is a role for me there and what role they would want me to play.
“It would depend on if they saw a role for me at Liverpool and then what role that would be. I would have to decide what is best for myself off the back of that.
“I have loved all of my time at Liverpool up until this moment, to have been taken in by the fans so much this year and have loved having the opportunity to play for the club.
“I have loved every minute of it and would love to carry on playing for the club. But I’ve also got to take into consideration what is best for my career, and that will depend on what role Liverpool see they do or don’t have for me and I’ll have to go from there.”
Phillips on Konate competition
The 24-year-old is ready to embrace the challenge of fighting for his spot.
“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,” he said.
“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.
“You want to be playing as much as possible but you have to earn it. There are occasions when you get on there by default because of injuries, but they don’t come along very often.
“If you want to play as often as possible, you need to embrace that fight and play to a high enough standard to hold off such competition.”
Phillips on failed Stuttgart move
Meanwhile, Phillips admitted that he was surprised to even be at Liverpool last season, having expected to move to Stuttgart, where he spent 2019-20 on loan.
“All the staff knew that the move was meant to happen,” he said. “It didn’t feel like it wouldn’t happen. It seemed almost done but as the day went on, I just thought, 'Oh right, maybe this isn’t going to go the way we all imagined this morning'.
“Come the evening, once my bags were packed, I wasn’t going to move back in with my parents again because I’d just come back from Germany so I went and got a flat and that was the process of me moving out of home again.”